L I B R.AR.Y
ST. L AYE'S.
Live for to-day ! to-morrow's light
To-morrow's cares shall bring to sight,
Go, sleep like closing flowers at night,
And Heaven thy morn will bless."
IN THREE VOLUMES.
HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS,
SUCCESSORS TO HENRY COLBURN.
18, GREAT MARLBOKOUGH 8TEBET.
The right of Translation is reserved.
DALZIEL. BROTHERS, CAMDEN PKESS, LONDON.
HHE Festival was over. The spring-
tide of excitement rolled slowly back,
only a bit of tangled drift here and
there betokening how high it had risen. The
morning after the triumphant performance of
" JaeL," a detachment of charwomen took posses-
sion of the Hall of Guild and restored it to pristine
neatness. They swept away the withered bouquets
with which the orchestra was strewed ; they tore
down the evergreen wreaths which decorated the
gallery front — reserving a few leaves, perhaps, for
the flavouring of custards — and swathed the
statuary in white canvas shrouds until they looked
like so many uncoffined corpses waiting for the
rites of burial.
vol. III. B
2 ST. OLAVE S.
Any one going down the streets of St. Olave's
a week after the last great day of the Festival,
would not have suspected that anything remarkable
had occurred in the place. Except the newly-
painted houses — and even these were beginning
to lose their freshness — nothing remained to tell
the story of departed splendour. The bristling
rainbow-tinted brocades, the flounced silks, the
zephyry muslins, disappeared from the High Street
shops, and their places were supplied by bales of
huckaback towelling, or webs of linen, stout and
strong for family use. Careful housekeepers put
their best china away for a three years' nap, locked
up the seldom-used linen which had been put
into requisition for chance lodgers, and betook
themselves to the reckoning of their profits.
The Westwood people, too, went back to the old
There is a supreme moment in every human life ;
a grand crisis of suffering, which comes once
and no more, a fateful conflict, in which the whole
nerve and vigour of our being is put to the test,
wherein, for awhile, we struggle madly, ineffectu-
ally; then, blinded, baffled, overwhelmed, lie down
and say, " Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do ? n
ST. olave's. 3
After this there comes to us a new life. The open
vision is granted, the scales fall from our eyes ;
hand in hand with God, companied by angels,
guarded by the unseen presence of spiritual minis-
trants, the rest of the way is travelled.
To such a crisis as this, David Bruce had come,
and the scar of it staid with him all through life.
To him, though, came the rest ; the open vision
was given, and room made for him in the grand
company of those who have become perfect through
suffering. After that terrible night all went on
quietly as ever at Westwood, none but Janet know-
ing the great struggle which had been over-past.
The relationship between David and Janet Bruce
was a singular one. It showed how two human
souls may dwell together in calm, quiet, unchanging
friendliness, yet without the slightest interpenetra-
tion — always touching but never mingling. There
is a chemistry of mind as well as of matter. Like
rushes towards like in the world of spirit. Some
minds may touch for years — for a lifetime — but
parting at last each is as perfect and self- existent
as the different coloured grains of sand that have
been tossing together side by side for centuries on
the ocean shore. Others, by some sort of heavenly
4 ST. OLAVE 8.
alchemy, blend at once and for ever. No time
nor chance can sunder them, nor even death itself
break, except for a little season, the eternal bond
that girds them. David and Janet were, or,
through the education of circumstances, had
become, types of two natures, which, though they
may blend in perfect tenderness and charity, can
never interpenetrate each other.
But in this great sorrow that had come upon
him, Janet clung to David Bruce with grave, sweet
sisterliness ; and though, after that bitter night in
which one single lightning flash of emotion revealed
the great deep that lay beneath, no word of
sympathy was ever spoken between them, though
over all the past there lay the veil of sacred, un-
broken silence, still the thousand little tendernesses
of home life were exchanged more reverently ; and
if they lacked communion of thought, the commu-
nion of kind deeds never failed. Little by little,
when the first bewilderment of the blow had passed
away, outward life for those two became again
almost what it used to be — like one of those clear,
deep, rock-girt mountain tarns, which sleep on
dark and calm alike beneath July sunshine or the
rack and storm of winter.
Janet thought her brother might forget. Fame,
success,, hard work, the new interests that added
social position gathered round him — these she
hoped would scatter away the ashes of the old love
and leave the altar of his heart empty again, if not
for new flames to kindle there, at least for the
steady glow of home peace to burn on unquenched.
So that, although for both of them the brightness
of life had been dimmed, some of its quietness
might still remain, and by-and-by more than a
little of its peace.
But she misunderstood him. St. Olave's could
be no home to David Bruce so long as Alice Grey
was there. Whilst in his sorrow there was no
sting of wounded pride, no bitterness of the chafed
vanity over which little natures fret and worry,
still it was hard to weary through day after day
of a life, from which all the sunlight had died
out ; to toil through old accustomed duties that
had no longer any spring or freshness in them ; to
remember only, where once he had hoped. And
so when a week or two after the St. Olave's Festival,
there came an invitation for him to go over and
conduct his Oratorio at the approaching grand
Musical Commemoration of Munich, he accepted
6 st. olave's.
it. From Munich he determined to go to Berlin,
Leipsic, Cologne, and then to Italy and Switzer-
land, not returning to England until autumn, when
St. Olave's would be Alice Grey's home no longer.
He thought, if his present success con-
tinued, of leaving Westwood entirely and going
back to Scotland. He knew, though Janet never
said so, her heart was with the heather and the
biue-bell still. A few months' hard work at his
profession would enable him to reclaim the Court
House from the stranger hands into which it had
fallen. Then he might give back to his sister their
old home with all its memories and belongings ;
and whilst he devoted himself more completely
than ever to his life work, that solitary year at St.
Olave's, with its brilliant lights and blasting sha-
dows, might be quietly laid away.
Not forgotten. God forbid that any true man
should ever forget, or wish to forget, the love
which, though it has left him nothing but sorrow,
was once sent by God to bind its golden tendrils
round his soul and lift him nearer heaven.
Alice could never be forgotten. Lost, parted
from him by a gulf wider far than death, still her
name could never die out from his heart, nor be
ST. OLAVE S. 7
in it other than a thought of purity and tender-
So David Bruce's coronation-day passed away,
giving him, besides the laurel wreath of glory, that
other and sometimes nobler crown of thorns which
is never wanting in the regalia of God's royal
children. He wore it very calmly, and the world,
looking only at the shining leaves above, never
knew that it was there.
Many a one, with beating heart and kindling
eye, sets off in life's bright morning time to
climb the mountain-top of some lofty purpose or
great hope, thinking from its height to gain vast
outlooks of delight. But even whilst he climbs,
the shadows of evening fall, and when at last he
gains the summit, there lies all round and above
him nothing but the darkness of night, through
which one by one the holy stars come out and
shine. Yet let him not turn back in utter hope-
lessness. Better far that he should wait patiently
for the sun that shall rise ere long. For the
morning comes to us all, even as the night does.
|AYID BRUCE could not put the Ger-
man Ocean between him and the old
life so speedily as he wished. A few
days after the Festival, he resigned his post as
organist of St. Olave's, greatly to the concern of
the Dean and Chapter, who were building much
on the eclat their Cathedral services would win
from the superintendence of so distinguished a
musician. His engagement was binding, however,
for a year, and there wanted several weeks yet to
the expiration of this term of agreement. So
morning after morning, while the choir was
thronged with strangers who came from all parts
to hear his wonderful music, Mr. Bruce still took
ST. olave's. 9
his accustomed place in the little oaken carved
organ-pew which Alice's presence had consecrated
evermore. And as he turned over the musty old
manuscripts and brown worm-eaten folios of
chants, there came before him her sweet girl face
with its upward look of reverence and wonder;
just as he remembered it months and months ago
in the sunshine of that early July morning.
But they never met. He looked seldom, and
only by chance, into Mistress Amiel Grey's cur-
tained pew, and took care never to quit his place
u ntil the last lingering listener had left the choir.
Often after service was over he would pace the
long echoing galleries for hours together, gathering
up thoughts for new music, or reading over page
after page of old cathedral anthems whose grand
harmonies were to him what books are to the
learned. And so he tried to lull for a little while
the memories that would not sleep.
At home he was tender and kind as ever. No
one in that little household was chilled by
any shadow which had come over his sunshine.
None found his words less friendly, or missed in
his presence the charm of the old strong protecting
faithfulness. Only weak natures are marred and
10 ST. olave's.
maimed by sorrow. Disappointment is to a noble
soul what cold water is to burning metal; it
strengthens,, tempers, intensifies, but never de-
stroys. He was still the home-stay, the true-hearted
brother, the gentle master, the trusty friend.
And day by day the home at Westwood, utterly
shorn as it was of happiness or joy, became more
and more sheltered by deepening peace, the balm
which sinless sorrow always leaves. Janet had
won that peace long ago ; over David's heart it
was rising too ; and even Mrs. Edenall, out of sor-
row not sinless but conquered, now seemed to be
slowly passing into rest.
David Bruce would scarcely have left his sister
but for the great change that had come over
Mrs. Edenall. She wearied them no longer by
her restless, excited ways. The mainspring of
passion seemed to have run itself down at last, and
the emotional part of her nature lay still. She
was quiet, docile as a child. Silent as ever
though, and speaking no word of the great deep
past, with all its possible grief and guilt ; but it
was only the silence of penitence now, not of pride.
One could scarcely have known her for the same,
but that, at rare intervals, there flashed forth from
her eyes a gleam of the old wild light, showing
that far away down, the volcanic intensity of her
nature was still smouldering, and might once
more break forth again.
Janet offered no opposition to her brother's de-
parture. Her meek patient face just grew a shade
paler when he told her, a few days after the
Festival, what he had determined to do.
" I shall be sair vexed to lose you, brother
Davie," she said, in their old tender-hearted
country speech, to which even yet Mrs. Edenall
always listened with a sort of reverent sadness,
" but I'll no keep ye back; " and then with one
close hand- clasp she stole away from him, to bear
her sorrow as best she might, alone.
Janet was very self-forgetting. Sacrifice had
long ago become, not the accident but the rule of
her life. All that she had to give was given to
this brother of hers, and all of pain that the
giving compelled, was borne in silence. Weary
as any future without him must be, she was glad,
and even thankful, for a change which might sever
the present from the past, and set him in the
midst of a new life, unblemished by the haunting
remembrances that could never be quite blotted
12 ST. olave's.
out from Westwood. And so, when the crush
and excitement of the Festival had passed
away, instead of settling down to the years of
unbroken home peace to which she had once
looked, she bravely gathered together her brother's
belongings, and prepared for a parting that
might last through both their lives.
Alice waited day by day, wondering that Mr.
Bruce never came to the Old Lodge. Perhaps
six months ago her impatience might have over-
stepped the limits of St. Olave's etiquette, and
setting its maxims at defiance she might have
gone to Westwood on her own account. But
under the able tuition of Mrs. Archdeacon
Scrymgeour, Alice had taken on a little of the
Close family tone. There was gathering round
her a slight crust of hauteur, the commencement
of that social petrifaction, which any one living
long enough beneath the droppmg-well of St.
Olave's conventions, could not fail to experience.
The Archdeacon's widow saw this, and rejoiced
in it. It was, to her, the earnest of that serene
self-possession and full rounded dignity which
would sit so well on the future Bishop's lady. And
as little by little she noted how the young figure
ST. olave's. 13
drew itself up with more queenly grace, and the
girlish head learned to wear its coronet of brown
curls with more of womanly pride, she congratu-
lated herself on the rare penetration Cuthbert had
evinced by selecting a partner in whom beauty,
breeding, birth and fortune were so admirably
And so the time wore on. Shortly after his
return from Brighton, Mr. Scrymgeour was
presented to the living of Grassthorpe, a little
village about five miles from St. Olave's, and for
the last month Mrs. Scrymgeour had been flitting
backwards and forwards from Chapter Court to her
nephew's Rectory, superintending workmen, pur-
chasing furniture, unpacking plate, linen, and
china, and initiating Cuthbert into the art of in-
She was very anxious now to expedite his
marriage. True, the income of the Rectory was
only two hundred, rather a small share for a
gentleman to contribute whose bride was to bring
him a dowry of fifty thousand at the least. But
Cuthbert was not proud, at least he had not that
pride which keeps a man from living on his wife's
money, and enjoying it too. He would give her
14 ST. olave's.
position, and she would supply the means of sus-
taining that position ; a very fair exchange, as
Mrs. Scrymgeour decided, and we hope no one
will question the perfect justice of the decision.
Besides, she had other reasons for pushing on
the match. Alice was growing very charming.
Her unformed nursery ways once worn off
by contact with society, she had ripened into
an elegant and fascinating woman, the object
of much admiration — sometimes more than admi-
ration. A swarm of butterfly cavaliers hovered
about her wherever she went, some attracted by
her beauty, some by her graceful manners, all by
her wealth ; and the sooner Cuthbert caged his
pet-bird the better. Alice was only young, not
very stable, quite open to the delicate compliments
of men who knew how to offer them as elegantly
as Mr. Scrymgeour himself. Mrs. Scrymgeour
had discrimination enough to see that Alice's love
for Cuthbert was not of that quiet, deep, over-
mastering sort which scorns rivalry, and holds
faithful even to the death. She was very fond of
him, and just lived on his caresses, and so long
as no one pleased her fancy better, she would
cling to him ; but would it be safer to have the
thing settled ? — very much safer.
ST. olave's. 15
The only obstruction was Mistress Amiel Grey
and Miss Luckie had learned to adapt herself so skil-
fully to the old lady's needs, that there was no
longer any pressing necessity for Alice to sacrifice
her prospects to home duties. Aunt Amiel still
lived on in that unconscious soul slumber which had
come over her five months ago. No gleam of
returning intelligence had ever broken through
it. Dr. Greenwood told them she might live for
years and years before the great and final change
came, or it might overtake her at any moment.
At all events, there was not the remotest possibility
of her ever recovering so far as to perceive any
alteration that might be made in the arrange-
ments of the household, or to suffer from the
absence of her niece.
Alice's loving care had removed all traces of
sickness from the cheerful little room where Aunt
Amiel passed the chief part of her time. She
would not even have any change made in the dress
or appearance of her aunt that might suggest ill-
health. Mrs. Grey still wore the loose robe of soft,
glossy, black satin, and kerchief of clear starched
muslin, which used to be her costume when she
was able to move about. Morning by morning,
Alice used to smooth down the silvery hair under
the old-fashioned widow's cap, and adjust the
cambric ruffles over the white hands that clasped
each other so patiently. One might have
thought, to see Aunt Amiel reclining in her large
crimson-cushioned couch chair, that she had but
fallen into some pleasant reverie — that by-and-by
the hands would drop from their peaceful clasp,
and the eyes lose that dim vacant look, and the
set, never changing smile fade back again into an
ordinary work-a-day expression.
And, indeed, the waking was near, much nearer
than any of them thought.
[AWAVffg HE time was towards the end of April.
fflESSi ^bere bad been sunshine for several
— ■srsr~| jj| days, and the lilac buds in the Lodge
garden, eager to escape from their long wintry
prison, had burst forth into a flush of dainty green.
But the Close elm trees, sturdy old veterans who
knew by experience how surely April sunshine is
followed by April frost, still kept their leafy trea-
sures under watch and ward, only putting out here
and there a tiny little bud, which contrasted
brightly enough with their gnarled and rugged
Alice sat by the oriel window alone, for Miss
Luckie had got a week's reprieve from household
VOL. HI. C
18 st. olave's.
duties to visit some friends at a distance. But the
young girl's thoughts were far enough away from
the garden or its greenery. Her head was bent
down over a piece of work she held in her hand,
and smiles came and went like gleams of sunshine
upon her face. The work told its own story. It
was a pair of clergyman's bands., of the finest
silkiest cambric. Cuthbert Scrymgeour was to
wear them when he preached his first sermon at
Grassthorpe on the next Sunday. He had promised
to come over very early in the morning, and drive
Alice and Mrs. Scrymgeour out to the rectory for
It was Alice's first visit to her future home, and
many were the wondering thoughts that thronged
over her as she pictured what it would be like.
But no thought of the duties that belonged to her
life, no prayer for strength to do them, mingled
with the gushing smile that as she worked
grew deeper on her face. She neared the portals
of coming womanhood as most young women do,
thinking only of the flowers which hang upon its
threshold, never of the beaten track, very unflowery
often, that stretches out beyond. She had a
dim, misty sort of notion about clothing clubs and
flannel petticoats, as in some way connected with
the more prominent responsibilities of the female
pastorate ; and behind these loomed others qnite as
misty, touching the preparation of jelly and broth.
These had been suggested to her by a little manual,
very excellent in its way, entitled, " Hints to the
Wives of Clergymen," which Mrs. Scrymgeour
had given to her with a great deal of sound and
judicious advice soon after her engagement to
Cuthbert. Alice blushed down to her finger ends
when the book was presented, and as soon as she
had the chance, darted away to her own room to
dip into its contents.
One chapter treated of sick visitation and the
making of jelly. Alice's education in both these
branches had been considerably neglected, and
feeling that she was quite incompetent to undertake
the duties of a pastor's wife until she could make
tempting dishes for ill people, she determined to
set to work at once. She put her curls behind her
ears, tied a coquettish little pink apron over her
silk dress, and went to consult with Simmons, who
generously placed the still-room and its contents at
her disposal. The result was, that after slopping
away nearly half a bottle of sherry and using up a
20 st. olave's.
whole packet of the best isinglass, the bewitching
young amateur was fain to retire from the con-
test ; the pink apron found its way, in a somewhat
advanced stage of stickiness, to the wash-tub, and
the jelly was consigned to a receptacle for miscel-
laneous odds and ends. So ended Alice's curricu-
lum in the culinary department ; but she consoled
herself by a vague idea that when matrimonial
duties did come to her share, a capacity for their
fulfilment would somehow be vouchsafed.
She was still sitting there at the oriel window
— not working though, for her hands were crossed
upon her lap and her eyelids bent down until their
long lashes just skimmed her rosy cheeks —
when the door opened and Mrs. Cromarty
" Miss Alice."
But that waking dream was too pleasant for
words so low spoken as Mrs. Cromarty's to dis-
turb it. She came slowly across the long room
and laid her hand on Alice's shoulder.
" Miss Alice, I think you'll need to come with
me. There's a change upon the mistress."
There was no tremor in the voice, its tones were
very calm and low. Alice started, but not with
st. olave's. 21
fear. Unconsciously holding the work in her
fingers, and with that pleasant smile still lingering
on her lips, she followed Mrs. Cromarty up the
wide oaken staircase to Mrs. Grey's room.
Aunt AmiePs face was deadly pale ; the hands,
so long motionless, twitched nervously at the
crimson wrap which was thrown round her; her
eyes had lost their placid, vacant gaze, and wan-
dered restlessly round. Alice dropped her
work and sprang across the room to her aunt's
" Oh, Aunt Amiel, what is it ? Do you want
anything ; can I help you ?"
No answer, but only that searching bewildered
gaze. By-and-by the features became fear-
fully distorted, and the whole frame quivered as if
convulsed. Alice could not bear the sight, and
crouching on the floor, hid her face in the folds of
Aunt AmieFs dress. Poor child, she knew little
as yet of suffering or death.
" It was that warned me first," said Mrs. Cro-
marty, who stood by the couch, supporting her
mistress with one arm, whilst the other was held
round the half-fainting girl. (( I've sent for Dr.
Greenwood, Miss Alice ; he'll soon be here, and
22 st. olave's.
then, please God, he'll be able to do something to
He came, but was powerless to help them in
that time of need. He prescribed a few simple
alleviations, and then — very gently, for he feared
alarming Alice — told them that the end had come,
that a few hours more or less was all of life that
remained to Mistress Amiel Grey. Alice, stunned
and bewildered, scarcely seemed to hear his words,
certainly she did not heed them. As Dr. Green-
wood was leaving the room he beckoned to Mrs.
Cromarty to follow him.
" You have been in Mrs. Grey's service some
time, and know more of her affairs perhaps than
Miss Alice. Has she any friends who are em-
powered to act as guardians to her niece — relatives,
you understand ?"
<e I can't say, Sir, for certain. Mistress was
always shy of speaking about Miss Alice, but I've
heard her say as much as that she meant to
leave her the property; and indeed you know,
Sir, there's none nearer kin to her than Miss
" That is what I wished to know. Frequently
in cases of this kind the faculties revive for a short
time before death, and it is important that in case
Mrs. Grey should be able to converse intelligibly,
her friends may be at hand to receive any instruc-
tions respecting her niece."
Mrs. Cromarty thought awhile.
" The Mistress has overlived most of her people,
Sir, and I never heard her speak of no kith or
kin, let alone a cousin who serves with the army
in foreign parts. He's a captain, Sir, I don't re-
collect his name, but now that you mention it I
do remember her saying afore she was took with
the stroke, that he would be back again soon."
"Miss Grey has no brothers, I suppose, no
parents who can act for her."
" Not as I know on. She came here a baby a
bit after I engaged housekeeper to the Mis-
tress, and I never heard no word of nobody
belonging to her that I can tell of. Mistress
Grey was shy, very, about her relations, but I take
it she's a orphan !"
"Most likely. Of course Mrs. Grey's affairs
will be properly settled; she was always a
woman of method and prudence. The Scrymgeours
should be informed of this attack."
" I've sent to 'em, Sir."
"Then all lias been done that can be done. I
will come again in an hour."
Mrs. Cromartv came back. She threw a light
silk handkerchief over Mrs. Grey's face, that when
Alice looked again she might not be startled by
the fearful contortions which from time to time
passed over it.
"What does Mr. Greenwood say, Mrs. Cro-
" The end's nigh at hand, darling. It's the
Master's will, and we can't go agen it. Let us
ask Him to send her a peaceful rest, for it's hard
struggling with her now."
Mrs. Cromarty knelt and prayed. Many a
time her prayers had companied departing souls
to heaven's gate and fallen like a benediction on
the lonely watchers who were left behind. But
the dying one heard them not now. The last
death struggle had seized her. She sprang for-
ward with a convulsive start, and the handkerchief
fell from her face, revealing its features cramped
and contorted as if in violent agony. Then the
spasm passed away, and she fell back again upon
the couch, breathing heavily and at long in-
st. olave's. 25
Alice still knelt by her. It was pitiable to see
her helpless sorrow. For one moment, in that
death throe, she caught a glimpse of her aunt's
face. Its memory staid with her to her dying-
day. Then amidst the tumult and distraction of
her thoughts, came the remembrance of him
whose name, though it might be forgotten in time
of joy, rose always as a presence of comfort in time
of need, and she sobbed out : —
" Send for Mr. "Bruce."
So they sent for him. Cuthbert Scrymgeour
was no favourite of Mrs. Cromarty's. With the
clairvoyance of a purely simple and religious
nature, she pierced through the outer wrappings
of elegance and refinement to the deep of selfish-
ness which lay beneath. She was glad for him
not to be there, glad that in this deep sorrow
Alice's thoughts should turn to David Bruce for
rest and solace.
Lettice was despatched to the Cathedral to
meet him, as he came out from afternoon sendee.
She took her place by the little door which led
to the organ stair, and then remembering that
he often staid behind and played after the choris-
ters had dispersed, she went up into his pew. He
,26 st. olave's.
was just accompanying the versiclcs that follow
the Creed. He did not notice her; amateur
musicians used often to come into the organ pew
whilst the service was going on, and then steal
quietly out again, without speaking to him.
When the last response was finished, she went
up to him. He was standing to make some
alteration in the organ stops, and did not see her
until she was close upon him.
" Please sir, Mistress Amiel Grey is dying, and
Miss Alice has sent for you."
David Bruce staggered, as if a sudden blow
had come upon him ; the place seemed to reel
round and round, and he clutched nervously at
the low projecting bosses of the oaken work to
keep himself from falling. Ah ! people may
talk of forgetting, but for some men memory
never dies. Lettice's words showed him how
slight as yet was the little film of quiet which
had gathered over his life. He could answer not
"Yes, sir/' said Lettice, seeing the look
of pain upon his face, "she was took for
death about half- an -hour ago, and seems to suffer
awful. Poor Miss Alice is dreadful scared, she's
never been used to see illness, and she's got no
one to look to but you, for Miss Luckie is
away, and the folks from Chapter Court is all out
That name gave David strength to speak.
" Tell Miss Grey I will come ; and stay,
Lettice, perhaps you had better go on to West-
wood ; my sister might be of use."
That was all he said, and it was spoken in a
short, quick, abrupt way, with the harsh, rasping
tone of one who speaks in great suffering.
Not a word of sympathy or sorrow, not even a
" Laws what a quiet man ! w said Lettice to
herself, as she threaded her way down the narrow
stair." I never seed such a quiet man in all my
life. He don't look to have got no feelings in
him at all. He ain't half so sweet as the gentle-
man young missis is going to get."
When she had gone, David pressed his hands
tightly over his face for a moment or two. Then
he locked the organ, and leaving the choristers to
perform the remainder of the Amens on their
own responsibility, he stole away down the
silent nave, darkening now in the April twilight,
28 ST. OLAVE's.
and across the Close to the secluded garden of the
Old Lodge. He had never entered it since that
evening nine months ago, when he stood beneath
the window listening to Alice Grey, as she played
the solo music of ' ( Jael." But there was no time to
think of that now. Mrs. Cromarty met him at
the door. There were tears glistening in her
dark deep eyes, and womanly tenderness, the
tenderness which can both sustain and sympathize,
softened the lines of her rugged face.
". Fm glad you're come, sir. She's wearied
sadly for you. I don't mean Mistress Amiel
Grey, but poor Miss Alice. She's just done
nothing but moan, when will Mr. Bruce come ?
since I sent Lettice. Him as ought to comfort
her is away, but if he was here, I don't think he'd
be much hand. It's only them as has met sorrow
theirselves, sir, as can teach others to bear it.
This way, please."
She left him in the doorway of the room where
Mistress Amiel Grey lay. Alice was kneeling by
her aunt's side, her head resting wearily on the
cushions, her whole figure sunk into the abandon-
ment of hopelessness.
At the sight of her. pale and suffering, a rush
of tenderness almost overpowered David Bruce.
His first impulse was to spring forward and take
her to her own place, his faithful, unchanging
heart. And well would it have been for Alice
could he have done so. But before the impulse
had time to shape itself into action, his eye fell
upon her piece of work, the cambric bands which
she had dropped on the carpet. They spoke of
all that lay between him and Alice Grey. He
was himself again, calm, quiet, self-possessed.
But he could not be cold. Alice had done him
no wrong, even though she had shadowed all his
life. There can be no bitterness in a true and
noble heart. He went up to her and took in
his own the hand that hung down so listlessly.
C( Alice, you sent for me. I have come."
She turned and nestled her cold white cheek to
his shoulder as he stooped over her; there was
rest in his presence. She kept his hand held fast
in hers, as though the veiy touch brought comfort,
and for long they stood together, keeping
silent watch over the dying.
" Alice ?"
The young girl started, and bent eagerly
forward. It was the voice, the kind, well-remem-
bered voice, hushed so long. The angel of death
had come, but, ere he bid the soul away, he
suffered it to look once more through the window
of its earthly tenement.
"Alice, my little Alice; my little child that
came to me so long ago."
The suffering had all passed away. Aunt
AmiePs face was still, quite still, and an answer-
ing glance of affection, deep, yearning, unchang-
ing affection, repaid Alice's fond kiss.
Just then the Cathedral bells began to ring. It
was Wednesday, the practising evening. Very
harshly their clangour smote upon the stillness and
peace of that room. As she caught the sound of
them, Aunt Amiel looked perplexed, then pained ;
then, as if taking up the train of thought which
had been upon her mind ere it fell into that long
slumber, she said, quite clearly and distinctly —
et Those are the bells of Brandon Church. They
must not ring, it was not a legal marriage.
Douglas Ramsay knew it was not a proper mar-
riage, he deceived her ; poor Marian."
David set his lips together, and a mingled look
of anger and sorrow came into his face, but he
said nothing. Mrs. Grey paused, then began
" My poor child, why did tliey send her away ?
Tell the bells to stop ringing. Is that Mr
Ramsay ? Will he take care of her ? The bells,
the bells, stop ringing "
She leaned back as if qnite exhausted.
"What is she saying, Alice?" asked David
" I believe she is wandering. Just before the
stroke came she was saying something about bells
ringing, it must be the same thought working in
her mind now."
David went out to speak to Mrs. Cromarty, who
was in the next room, and presently the bells
ceased. One of the ringers remained behind
though. There was no need for merry peals that
night, but a dirge would be wanted ere long, and
he stayed to toll it.
A messenger had been despatched to Grass-
thorpe, but ere he arrived, that other messenger,
who loiters never on any errand of his, reached the
Old Lodge. Aunt Amiel died very calmly. She
spoke no more after those few wandering
sentences. By-and-by a look of strange, startled
awe passed over her face; she opened her eyes,
bright as with glory shining down upon them, then
there were a few shortening breaths, and all was
" Aunt Amiel ! oh, Aunt Amiel !" sobbed Alice,
but there was neither voice nor answer, only the
steadfast calm of death sealing the pale features.
She tried to lift herself up, and then fell weep -
ing into David Brace's arms. He held her there
quietly for awhile, then half led, half carried her
to the oriel room, and laid her upon the sofa.
There he would have left her, but she clung to
" Stay, Mr. Bruce, do stay. I have no one but
you, don't leave me," and she clasped his hands
tightly in hers.
It was a sad thing to do, but he stayed.
Sitting down by her, he soothed her with good
words, kind words, tender, brotherly words, that
had never come near the fire at his heart. Listen-
ing to them, Alice grew still. She drooped her
head upon his arm, and, presently, spent with
excitement and grief, fell into a troubled sleep, her
hand still clinging to his.
They were together thus, when his sister came
into the room. Janet started, she had not thought
to find them so, but one look at the stern, almost
awful fixedness of David Bruce's face, told her the
truth. No content was there, but only the calm of
desperate endurance. He called her; his voice
sounded so strange.
" Janet, come here."
u Take my place, sister, it is no place for me.
Stay with her, she is very lonely. They — the
people from Grassthorpe have not come."
He drew his hand from Alice's clasp, and Janet
placed hers there. Just then the tramp of
horses' feet was heard upon the gravel sweep of the
Close, and soon Cuthbert Scrymgeour's rich mu-
sical tones rang through the hall. With one long,
wistful, yearning look at Alice, which Janet, bend-
ing over her, did not notice, David Bruce left the
Old Lodge, never to enter it any more.
Three days later he was on his way to Munich.
||J ISTEESS Amiel Grey was buried
with great state and solemnity. The
Archdeacon's widow, who charged
herself with the ordering of the proceedings, deter
mined that everything should comport with the
high position of the deceased. The great Cathedral
bell tolled at intervals throughout the day, the
blinds of the grey, grim-looking old houses were
drawn as the procession wound slowly through
the Close, and by order of the Dean a
special funeral service was performed at the
Cathedral. The cortege, though made as imposing
as possible, was of necessity small. Mrs. Grey
had outlived nearly all her own family, and for the
ST. olave's. 3
last few years, since Alice grew up into girlhood,
she had kept herself in such strict seclusion that
most of her friends had lost sight of her.
Cuthbert Scrymgeour acted as chief mourner,
thus confirming the report which had been afloat
for some time concerning his engagement to Alice.
After this, it was understood as a matter of course,
and commented upon accordingly.
Mistress Amiel Grey had left no will, at least
none could be found. Shortly before her seizure
she sent for the solicitor who usually transacted
her business, but he was from home at the time,
and when he returned she was unable to attend to
the disposition of her affairs. Neither was any-
one appointed to act in behalf of Alice until she
came of age.
Mrs. Grey's only surviving relative was an
elderly gentleman of high position, who had been
for the last twenty years serving with his regiment
in India. The families had never held any inter-
course with each other, and it was by the merest
accident that Miss Luckie, a few weeks before,
had seen in the "Times" a notice of the embarkation
of Captain Clay's regiment for England. It was
to land in July. Until then, Mrs. Scrymgeour
decided that Alice should remain at the Old
Lodge, under the guardianship of Miss Luckie
Immediately upon Captain Clay's return, pecuniary
matters could be arranged, settlements made,
trustees appointed, and then the long-wished
for marriage solemnized with such splendour as
was consistent with the circumstances. She had
even determined in her own mind the arrange-
ment of matters at the Old Lodge after the
wedding ; which servants were to be retained,
which dismissed ; what articles of furniture
removed to Grassthorpe and what disposed of.
She and Cuthbert had also agreed between them-
selves that the Old Lodge should be let for a few
years, until he obtained minor Cathedral prefer-
ment, when it would make a convenient home for
them previous to going into the Residence, which
was at present the ante-penultimate stage of Mrs.
Scrymgeour's ecclesiastical ambition.
Alice got over the shock of her aunt's death
much better than anyone expected. Hers was
one of those slender, fragile natures, which though
they bend to every passing breeze of sorrow, soon
regain their elasticity. As yet the real depths of
her being had never been stirred ; she had
ST. OLAVE S.
neither enjoyed nor suffered with her whole soul.
And indeed, when the first shock of Mrs. Grey's
death was over, the change in the household was
not very apparent. Miss Luckie continued her
post of comptroller - general, Mrs. Cromarty
remained as under-housekeeper, the whole estab-
lishment was kept up in the old style, not one of
the servants being dismissed, or any new
As the warm weather drew on, Lettice and
Colin were sent to Norlands to prepare the cottage
for summer visits. Alice loved the country, and now
that no one claimed her presence at the Old
Lodge, she began to spend much of her time
there. Occasionally too, her betrothed, with the
Archdeacon's widow to play propriety, would
drive over for the evening, or she beguiled Miss
Bruce away from the quiet little Westwood home
to ramble with her to the Norlands tower, and
follow the windings of the ravine up to the Lynne
waterfall, a couple of miles away. Here they
would sit for hours together, talking — it was
always Alice who began the conversation — about
David Bruce. Sometimes Janet used to read her
one of his letters, describing continental life and
ST. OLAVE S.
manners, or she would bring some of the musical
journals, and show Alice the notices of David
Bruce the " distinguished Scottish composer " as
he was called, and Alice listened with shy,
wondering delight to his praise. But Janet
passed over the pages where he spoke of dreariness
and longing, of the memories which no change
could lull, of the loneliness which all the world's
praise could not break, but only strengthen.
Since that sorrowful night of Aunt Amiel's
death, when Alice waking in the oriel room, met
Miss Brace's patient face bending over her, the
two had been drawn closer together. Janet some-
times unconsciously shrunk from her friends in
their prosperity, but if need of any kind overtook
them, her heart unburdened all its wealth of
tender loving-kindness. So as the year wore on,
and spring evenings lengthened out, Alice came
often to Westwood, not indeed bringing with her
now, as once she did, the sunshine of unclouded
gladness, yet somehow brightening that quiet
household with a certain balmy cheerfulness
which seemed to shrine her round wherever she
Mrs. Edenall scarcely ever joined in their con-
st. olave's. 39
versations. Since the time of the Festival she had
been gradually drooping. Her regal queenlike
bearing was quite gone. When sometimes she
slowly paced up and down the room, her tall
figure bent and swayed like a reed. But she never
complained. She would own to neither, ache nor
pain. Dr. Greenwood was consulted. He said it
was simply a depressed state of the nervous system,
arising from excitement or over- anxiety, and re-
commended change of air.
Leamington was suggested : Madeira; the South
of France; but Mrs. Edenall with a touch of her
old iron-strong firmness refused to go away.
" If I must die," she said, " I will die here at
St. Olave's. I will leave you if you wish it, but
not the old city. And Janet, when I do die, let
them bury me near the tower at Norlands, you
once told me it was a churchyard. I could lie
very quietly there."
So she staid with them, for Janet was not the
one to let a stranger pass from her threshold to
Mrs. Edenall did not suffer much. It seemed
as if God, having sent peace to the poor weary
spirit, were very gently loosening it from a world
40 ST. olave's.
in which it had been so worn and tempest- tossed.
Often Janet would gaze upon her face until its
strange beauty almost melted her to tears.
It had such a wan patient look now, strangely
like that other face over which she had seen her
brother bending on Mistress Amiel Grey's death
Ever since she heard of Mrs. Grey's death, Mrs.
Edenall had been very tender towards Alice Grey.
As she lay on the sofa during the long half- dark
evenings of Spring, she used silently to take the
young girl's hand in hers and hold it for hours to-
gether, sometimes caressing it as it lay like a snow-
flake on her black dress.
They were together there one evening in early
May ; Janet had left them for half-an-hour whilst
she went to see a poor person in the neighbourhood.
It was not a very brilliant conversational opportu-
nity. Just a stray word or two now and again
they spoke, and then in the long intervals of silence
watched how the grey evening fell and the shadows
of firelight grew stronger in the little room.
Alice had drawn a foot-stool close up to the sofa
and was leaning her head upon Mrs. EdenalPs
breast. The child had such pretty caressing ways ;
st. olave's. 41
people who rarely betrayed any outward show of
tenderness, used unconsciously to fondle her. She
was a pleasant contrast to those violently self-sus-
tained young ladies whom you would as soon
think of caressing as of putting your arms round
the neck of a cast-iron pillar and giving it a loving
kiss. She never seemed quite content unless she
was nestling close up to some one, and finding a
resting-place for her little fingers in some friendly
" Alice," said Mrs. Edenall, as she stroked the
soft curls that lay upon her dress, " you have such
pretty hair. I noticed it the first time I ever saw
" Yes," and a bright flush flitted over Alice's
" Cuth — people generally tell me it is very nice.
Mr. Bruce said once that those little bits peeping
out under your comb were just the same colour."
" Did he ? Ah we 11, a long time ago I used to
glory in my hair too. It was all like this," and
Mrs. Edenall drew out one of the little golden
brown tendrils which remained of her bygone
treasures. Alice took hold of it and wound it over
her fingers. As she did so, a strange shiver passed
42 st. olave's.
over her. She dropped it and began to
smooth down the grey bands that shaded Mrs.
" Did you have a great trouble, Mrs. Edenall, to
make your hair go like that ?"
" Yes, my child/' — once or twice Mrs. Edenall
had called Alice " my child." " I have had much
trouble in my life, more I trust than ever you will
Their eyes met, with a wistful, searching, inter-
communing gaze. Alice's, innocent and guileless,
Mrs. Edenall's, heavy with long past memories,
perhaps of sorrow, perhaps of sin. Alice was
the first to break the after silence that fell between
" Miss Bruce told me once, that suffering was
not so very bad if only we didn't do wrong too ;
and you know 1 think she has had a great deal of
Mrs. Edenall turned her head wearily away, and
hid her face in the cushion to hide the tears which
would force their way through the shut eyelids-
Alice leaning upon her, felt a quiver run through
the whole frame.
"Oh, Mrs. Edenall, are you ill?"
st. olave's. -43
" No Alice, not ill, but my head aches very
" Give me your handkerchief and I will get you
some Eau de Cologne. Janet has some that Mr.
Bruce brought from London. I know it will do
Without waiting for a reply, she took up the
little embroidered handkerchief which lay on the
sofa, and ran away upstairs; presently she re-
turned, laying it cool and damp and fragrant on
Mrs. Edenall J s heated forehead. As she did so,
she noticed the device in the corner. It was a
shield, embroidered in satin stitch, with a motto,
and beneath, the name, " Marian Brandon." Alice
read it out loud.
" Marian Brandon. Was that your name, Mrs.
Edenall, before you were married?"
Mrs. Edenall lifted her hand quickly as though
to seize the handkerchief away, then dropped it
again. It mattered little now. The end was very
near ; a few weeks more and her maiden name,
with all the shame she had brought upon it, would
be forgotten for ever.
" Yes, my name was Marian Brandon. It is
a good name." And as she said the words, some-
thing like a flash, of pride lighted up her paleface
but only for a moment.
" Brandon, Brandon/' said Alice, " surely I
have heard that name before. Ah ! I remember,
poor Aunt Amiel said something about Brandon
church just before she died. But you know she
was wandering, because directly after that she
said something else about a little child, and some
marriage that was not legal. Then her voice
failed, and in a little while she died."
Alice paused for some time, trying to keep back
the tears that came with the thought of that
" Did you know my Aunt Amiel ?" she said, by-
There was no answer. She asked the question
again. But Mrs. Edenall had fainted.
LICE had as little notion of the ma-
nagement of fainting-fits as of the
responsibilities of the female pastorate.
Bnt she did in her ignorance the best thing that
could have been done. She ran out into the gar-
den to seek Tibbie, leaving both parlour and hall
doors wide open. The rush of cool air sweeping
into the room revived Mrs. Edenall, and as Alice
came back bringing Tibbie, she opened her eyes
with a long, dreamy look of returning conscious-
" It's just a dwamm/' said Tibbie, pouring out
a glass of cold water from the little ewer that
stood on the window-seat. "Puir leddie, she's
46 st. olave's.
terrible frail the noo. Just sit by her and crack
tull her a wee. Miss Alice, while the Mistress
comes hame, and she'll no be lang."
Tibbie trotted back into the garden to finish
weeding the lettuces. Mrs. Edenall did not seem
inclined to talk any more ; she just turned her face
away, breathing heavily, as if in pain. In a few
minutes Janet returned, and then Alice went
As soon as Mrs. Edenall was left alone, she
took the handkerchief from her forehead and
dropped it upon the fire. She watched it until
every thread was consumed. The thick embroid-
ery stitch in which the device was worked, with-
stood the flames longest, and for some seconds
after the rest was crumbled to ash, the letters
forming the name of Brandon smouldered upon
the red embers. At last, letter by letter they
shrivelled and fell into the flame, and then Mrs.
Edenall stirred the fire together that no vestige of
the ashes might remain.
The next morning Alice came again, partly to
inquire after Mrs. Edenall, and partly to tell them
of a pleasant plan which had formed itself in her
kind little heart. She could scarcely wait to get
si. olave's. 47
through the customary greetings before she began
to tell them about it.
" Janet/' she said, " I have been thinking how
nice it would be if you and Mrs. Edenall would
come and stop at Norlands for a month or two.
Just now the country looks so pretty, and I am
sure it would do Mrs. Edenall a world of good to
get away from here. You know Westwood is low
rather. Do come, will you V
But Janet did not answer directly. A good
many domestic contingencies had to be taken into
consideration. Alice went on, pressing her suit
more earnestly. That she was sincere, her bright
smile and eager look told plainly enough.
" You were saying you remember, not very long
ago, that Tibbie wanted to go into Scotland, but
you could not spare her away. Now she can go
whilst you come to Norlands, and Lettice shall
come down here now and then to see that the
house is all right. Now, you will come, I'm
Janet smiled. She did not wonder how those
frank, girlish ways, that bright look, those soft
guileless tones had sunk far down into her bro-
ther's heart. Truly Alice Grey was made to be
loved, as flowers are made to bathe their fragrant
cups in sunshine and dew.
" I would like fine to come to Norlands, Alice ;
it is a bonnie nook, and minds me of my own
country. But I must not leave Mrs. Edenall, you
know, and I am afraid she will be loth to move. I
will go and ask her, though."
Mrs. Edenall came in. To Janet's surprise, she
accepted the invitation at once. She even seemed
eager to go, and the thought of it brought a faint
tinge of colour to her sunken cheeks. How dif-
ferent from the cold, haughty indifference with
which, little more than six months ago, she had
dropped her last invitation to Norlands.
Alice was all animation and eagerness. She
would not leave until the arrangements were com-
pleted, and that day week fixed as the time for
their visit to begin. And if matters could not be
settled for Tibbie to get away into Scotland so
soon, she was to come to Norlands too, and shut
up the Westwood house altogether.
Alice's frank kindness had done them much
good. Something of cheerfulness and even of
bright anticipation came over them both as they
prepared to leave their quiet, sombre little cottage,
for the home in which such a hearty welcome
waited them. Ah, had they known that Norlands
held a grave for one of them, and that the living
one should leave her all of earthly hope and long-
ing there, how different it would have been !
Spring deepened into summer. There came
evening skies of purple, and floods of yellow sun-
light rolled over the wold hills, deepening as the
day declined into crimson and grey. Janet and
Mrs. Edenall had been at Norlands nearly six
weeks. The wild hyacinths were blooming up in
the orchard path when they went, the hedges
were whitened over with snowflakes of scented
hawthorn, and every passing breeze showered down
upon the cottage garden a windfall of tiny little
sycamore buds, or the feathery rose-tipped blossoms
of the horse -chesnut. But now it was summer time,
the weary, dusty summer, when flowers begin to look
like gay ball dresses that have been over long worn,
and thirsty leaves pant and flutter in the hot air.
As yet, no time was fixed for their departure.
Janet often mentioned the subject, but Alice would
never listen, and pressed them week after week to
stay a little longer. The change was doing Mrs. Eden-
VOL. III. E
50 st. olave's.
all much good. She scarcely seemed like the same
woman who had come there so wan and worn and
weary in the early spring time. Her step was
firmer now, and with that had come back her
erect queenly bearing. She could walk for hours
together without failing ; indeed sometimes she
would spend the entire day in sauntering about
the old tower and tracking out the different paths
which led to it. Perhaps it might be that health
would come back to her after all, and that the fu-
ture might redeem the past, whatever that past had
been. For with returning health there returned
none of the old pride. The light that shone through
her eyes was quiet, like lamps gleaming from cathe-
dral windows while hymns are chanted within.
It seemed as if the wild fierce flames of those
long ago memories were burning themselves out
at last, and a new life, pure and holy, rising from
The bond between her and Janet Bruce was a
strange one. Each knew that the other had
jaiown great sorrow, a sorrow whose scar could
never be healed or forgotten ; but what that sorrow
was, when and how it had come, was as yet untold.
All through their long intercourse the past had
ST. olave's. 5 1
been left untouched. They had never seen each
other heart to heart. They were like two blind
people walking the same road, holding each other's
hands, listening to each other's voices, but never
able to look into each other's eyes with that con-
scious communing glance wherein the whole soul
Alice often came to Norlands whilst they were
there. She was very fond of bringing her bits of
embroidery work, and making believe to be won-
derfully industrious, as she sat by Janet's side in
the little front room or on the rustic seat undei
the elm tree. For awhile she would stitch away
diligently enough, but long before a single leaf or
bud was finished, the work dropped from her
fingers, she would lay her head down in Janet's
lap and begin to murmur out her innocent day
dreams of happiness, looking up now and then for
an answering smile, which Janet gave kindly,
though not without a certain bitter feeling at her
heart for the absent brother whose life these
dreams had crossed.
David Bruce wrote no word yet about coming
home. He had conducted his Oratorio with great
success at Munich, Leipsic, Berlin and Cologne.
52 st. olave's.
His name stood side by side with those of the first
musicians on the continent, and wealth seemed
likely to follow in the wake of fame. He was in
Italy now, visiting some of the great musical cities
there. After spending some time in Rome and
Venice, he intended to go to Switzerland and then
return to Germany, where he would remain perhaps
until far into the winter.
Alice's wedding was fixed to take place in
August, as soon as possible after Captain Clay's
return. Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour had the
entire management of it, and she found xVlice a
most docile bride-elect. On account of the short
time which had elapsed since Aunt AmiePs death,
the wedding could not be so magnificent as Mrs.
Scrymgeour wished; still everything was to
be in first-rate style, as befitted the nuptials
of two distinguished members of the Close families.
Alice had fixed upon her wedding dress, white
glace with trimmings of tulle and green frosted
leaves. The bridesmaids, six in number, were to
be in white tarlatan with violet sprigs, and wreaths
to match. The ceremony w r as to be performed in
St. Olave's Chapel of Ease by the Dean, and the
bride given away by Dr. Hewlett, the present
Canon-in- Residence. The young couple had not
yet decided where to spend their honeymoon. Mrs.
Scrymgeour leaned to Rome, as being distingue,
and suitable to ecclesiastical anions, but at that
time of the year malaria stood in the way. Cuth-
bert would have enjoyed a spell of Paris pomp and
gaiety, and Alice longed to spend the first bright
days of her wedded life amidst the heathery
mountains and ferny dells of Scotland.
"You know, Janet," she said, during one
of these sunshiny summer afternoon talks, " I
don't want gaiety or anything of that sort, but just
to be quietly happy. And ever since you came
here I have wanted to see those beautiful places
you talk to me about. I should like to saunter
over the Perth Inches and climb the hills of Kin-
noul, and look for the shady lanes where the blue-
bells grow, that you and Mr Bruce used to gather
when you were children. Would not that be
pleasanter now than Rome or Paris V s
Janet toyed mechanically with the curls that
lay in her lap, and answered with half a sigh, half
a smile. The smile was for Alice, the sigh for
" And then, you know, we might go to the top
of one of those great purple mountains ; and I
should ride on a little Shetland pony, and Cuth-
bert would hold the bridle, and we would have
such pleasant talks. Oh, Janet, I hope we may
go to Scotland ! " And then the picture got too
beautiful for words, and Alice finished it in a
So the time wore on, until the middle of July.
It was a sultry summer afternoon. The hay-
makers ceased their work and rested under the
spreading trees, or beneath the blackberry hedges
that grew so thick all round the Norlands meadows.
Alice was spending the day at Chapter Court, with
Cuthbert, who had come over from Grassthorpe.
Mrs. Edenall had gone to the Roman tower; she
often set off there quite early in the morning,
taking books and work, and not returning until
dusk. So Janet was left alone, with the exception
of Lettice and Colin, who were having a cozy chat
in the back yard.
There were only two sitting-rooms in Nor-
lands Cottage. These both pointed to the west.
One of them, which Mrs. Cromarty called the
best parlour, was painted light blue, and hung
with home-made curtains of fine netting, wrought
ST. OLAVE S. 55
by Mistress Amiel Grey in her younger days.
It was furnished in the quaint, old-fashioned style
one sees in country houses; corner cupboards,
full of china; bowls of rose and lavender
leaves ; marvellous specimens of fancy work, in
the shape of Rebeccas, and Elijahs, and Hagars ;
porcelain shepherdesses on the chimney-piece,
and little round tables covered with shells or
curious pebbles. The other room, where Janet
sat now, was wainscotted, and had been furnished
within the last few years, very simply, but in a
more modern style than the best parlour. There
was a pure, fresh, wholesome, country feel about
both the rooms, an atmosphere of goodness and
quietness. One might fancy that the house had
no memories of evil about it, that those old
walls, could they speak, would tell only of quiet
domestic happiness and home peace.
There had been a gentle rain in the night,
which freshened the worn-out flowers, and the
scent of lavender, clove pink, and honeysuckle
came in now through the open window. For
sound the far-off murmur of the little Luthcn
mingled with the nutter of leaves, or the solitary
chirp of an idle sparrow answered the grave,
56 st. olaveV
measured monotone that came from the rookery
in the elm tree at the corner of the cottage.
For more than an honr Janet had been reading
in that room ; then she began to knit, and, when
she was tired of that too, she drew the white
curtains over the lattice, and leaned back in her
easy chair, thinking of the life that was and the
life that might have been.
Who is it says that we all learn, sooner or later,
to be thankful for our might have beens ? It may
be so, it must be so, but not always in this life.
Some vexing problems find their solution even
here, and of a few bitter griefs we learn to say,
in earthly speech, "It is well." But the great
might have beens wear their robes of mystery all
through life, and not until eternity clears away
the clouds of time shall we learn to thank God
Very rarely did Janet Bruce think of her ' ' might
have beens" It was her wisdom, as it is the
wisdom of most people, to put them quietly away,
waiting for clearer light to shine upon them.
Only now and then, in the loneliness of unem-
ployed leisure, their ghostly faces peered out from
the past, and seemed to mock her as she looked
st. olave's. 57
upon them. She was roused from one of these
sad-coloured reveries by the distant tramp of foot-
steps on the narrow winding path that led up
from the ravine. As she listened, the sound
came nearer and nearer, and then she could
hear several voices speaking in low, muffled tones.
She drew aside the window curtain to look into
the garden. Four tall, strong, stalwart men,
who seemed as if they might be haymakers, were
just entering the little gate. They had made a
sort of hammock of their fustian coats, and upon
this they were carrying a man, who, from the
care and tenderness with which they bore him,
must have been very greatly injured.
Most women, sitting alone in their peaceful
homes, would have trembled at such a sight,
thinking surely that woe had chanced to some
one near and dear to them. Janet, in her great
loneliness, had none to tremble for. There was
only one person in all the world whose death
could pain her now, and David was far away. So
she waited, with a face perhaps a little paler, but
calm as ever.
Presently Lettice came tottering into the room,
white and almost fainting.
58 st. olave's.
' ' Oh ! Miss Bruce," she said, " they've been
and gone and brought a gentleman what's tum-
bled down the Norlands landslip and killed him-
self right out ; leastways, he lies as if he was
took for death, but the men says the breath's in
him yet. Do tell them to take him on to St.
Olave's, ma'am; I'm clean beat out with fright,
I am, ma'am. I can't abear being nigh hand a
dead body, and he'll be a corpse as sure as sure
afore morning. Do let 'em take him back,
ma'am." And Lettice, who was a good-hearted
girl, in a general way, but helpless as a baby in
any time of real need, threw her apron over her
head and burst into a fit of nervous crying.
" Hush, Lettice," Janet said, as she made the
trembling girl sit down on the sofa, " we must
do what we can for him. Wait here until I call
you," and she went out.
The four men were standing with their burden
in the little square entry. He lay perfectly
motionless. A white handkerchief which they
had taken out of his pocket was thrown over the
face. The foremost of the men, a sturdy, honest-
looking fellow, acted as spokesman for the rest.
"Very sorry, ma'am, to trouble you, but we
st. olave's. 59
thought he'd die straight out if we trailed him to
St. Olave's i' the drouth an' sunshine, an' we
knowed Mistress Amiel Grey, bless her, were
allers willing to help them as needed it, so we
made bold to bring him here, being nigh hand."
" You did quite right. I will do what I can
for him. Has he met with an accident ?"
" 'Deed, ma'am, and he has, and an ugly one,
too j this here's the way it happened, ma'am.
Me an' these here," the man jerked an elbow to-
wards his companions, "was leadin' hay i' the
meadow just t' other side the river, and I were
forkin' a load up to t' waggon, when we see'd a
gentleman on horseback galloppin' as hard as he
could go along the bridle road fra Norlands here.
We called out to him to hold hard, for yon land-
slip's a mighty awk'ard place for them as isn't
used to it. But he didn't take no heed, and afore
we could any on us get across to stop him, it were
all done. T' poor beast just gived a sort o' lollop
an' slithered right away down wi' t' gentleman a
holdin' on to him."
" It were a awful sight, ma'am," continued the
man ; " but God Almighty knows we'd ha' saved
him if we could. Bill an' me came across and
60 st. olave's.
picked him up, and i/others fastened t y hoss np
and corned after us, and we hugged him up the
rocks best way we could."
"You had better bring him in here," said Janet,
opening the door which led into the best parlour.
" Stay, though, I will fetch something to put him
Lettice was still sobbing hysterically into her
apron, so Janet went up-stairs herself and dragged
down one after the other a couple of mattresses,
which she placed on the middle of the floor with
some blankets upon them. Then she fetched a
pillow, and the injured man was laid carefully
He lay quite still, as if dead, and gave not the
slightest sign of suffering. From his dress he
appeared to be a gentleman. His coat, a dark
grey tweed, was of the stylish cut which fashionable
men wear ; his linen was beautifully fine, though
torn and soiled by the briars over which he had
fallen. His neck was bare, as if the scarf or tie
had been dragged off. One hand was gloved, on
the other was a splendid seal ring of white stone.
He was tall, and broad, and finely propor-
" I ax yer pardon, ma'am/' said one of the men,
as Janet stooped to lift the handkerchief from
the face, and he looked down upon her slight
figure with a pitying sort of tenderness, " Fm
feared he ain't much of a sight for ye to look
at. He were mighty grewsome when we picked
him up, and his face sort o' clicked and drawed
itself. It won't do ye no good, ma'am, to look at
him, and we just covered him wi' this, 'cause we
were feared if anybody catched sight on him they'd
get a sort of turn. He was a awful weight to
haul up. Bill an' me was almost beat out afore
we'd got him half-way. I thought Bill would
ha' gone into a swound."
" The doctor must be sent for first thing," said
Janet. " Come into the kitchen and rest, and the
boy shall go down to St. Olave's for him."
. The men followed her out into the clean, old-
fashioned kitchen, whilst Miss Bruce directed
Lettice, whose wits were slowly coming back
again, to get some refreshment ready. Then
she hunted up Colin, and told him to saddle
Benjie and set off at once to St. Olave's* to fetch
Dr. Greenwood, or the nearest doctor that could
be got. The four men were soon back again to
62 st. olave's.
their work. One of them kindly offered to stay
with Miss Bruce until the doctor came.
1 ' She don't seem to be no good nohow/' he said,
pointing towards the kitchen ; " and ye' re nobbut
small yourself, ma'am, and it's sort o' fearsome
like being nigh hand a man as may turn a corpus
any moment. I ain't afeared o' accidents, ma'am,
'cause I've see'd a sight of 'em i' my time, and
I'll sit by him an' welcome if ye like."
" You are very kind," Janet said, quietly, " but
I am not afraid." So the men left.
Janet went back again for awhile to her old
seat by the window, from which, half an hour ago,
she had seen the sufferer brought in. But it
seemed kinder, even though it could do him no
good, to keep watch beside the stranger who had
been so unexpectedly thrown upon her for help
and protection. He was lying quite still, evi-
dently insensible or dead. Not a movement
stirred the white coverlid which she had spread
over him ; not a breath, that she could perceive,
heaved the broad chest ; his hands — the ungloved
one very white and smooth — hung listlessly down,
not clenched or drawn as if in pain. Perhaps,
even now, it might be only a body — nothing
but a body — over which she was keeping
She knelt down by him. Lettice was moving
about the room, picking up some stalks of meadow
grass which the men had trodden in with them
from time to time stealing terrified glances at the
figure stretched prostrate on the floor.
After a few moments, Janet stooped down and
slowly lifted the handkerchief from the pale face.
There was a long pause.
" Lettice you can go away."
And awed by something in the tone of her
mistress's voice, Lettice crept noiselessly out of
So Janet Bruce and the man whose faithless-
ness had blighted all her life, met again.
F that lonely watching time Janet never
spoke to any one. It was lived between
God and her own soul. But when it
was over there was a strange light upon her face,
as if from some angel presence which had but
The doctor came. Not Dr. Greenwood, but a
stranger, a sharp dapper man, with a fussy address,
a head that seemed to be somehow loose on his
neck, and was always jerking about on invisible
springs, tvvink ling little brown green eyes, and a
voice that made its exit through his nose instead
of travelling by the orthodox highway for the
transmission of that organ.
Janet went into the entry to meet him. " Miss
Bruce, I presume, ma'am/' said he, with a wave
of the hand and a succession of spasmodic bows,
" sister of the eminent composer of that name,
formerly organist of the Cathedral; servant,
ma'am, with the greatest of satisfaction. Do not
recognize me perhaps, my name is Piflet ; Mar-
maduke Piflet, medical practitioner, number
Twenty-one, Little Back Priory Street, St.
Olave's. I have come to undertake the manage-
ment of a case which has taken place in your
neighbourhood. Serious case, ma'am? — fit —
accident — stroke? please introduce me to the
Janet took him into the room where the
injured man was lying, and related as briefly as
she could the particulars of the accident as they
were given to her by the labourer.
"Awkward spot that Norlands landslip, very
awkward spot ; ought to have been walled up by
the Corporation years ago ; shall write a letter
about it to the St. ' Olave's Chronicle ' this week
myself. Culpable neglect of the public safety,
very culpable neglect. And now, ma'am, with
your permission we will consider what means
VOL. III. f
66 st. olave's.
can be put in requisition for the treatment of
"Humph/* continued the little man as he
knelt on the mattress, and carefully scanned the
patients face, already settling into a ghastlier
hue. "Not got to the terminus yet, but seems
to be travelling that way by express train.
Case of concussion of the brain, not apparently
attended with severe external injuries, except
this/* and Mr. Piilet pushed back the hair, reveal-
ing a wound on the temples from which the blood
welled slowly out drop by drop.
"Don't recognize the face, ma'am; lived in
and about St. Olave's all my life and never saw it
before to my personal recollection. Haven't
thought, perhaps, of examining the dress to see
if anything will clear up his identity ?"
Janet replied that she had not.
" Of course, ma'am, wouldn't like to disturb
him. But you needn't have been afraid ; he's got
no more feeling about him than a dead sheep."
Mr. Piflet thrust his hand into one of the
pockets of the coat; it contained nothing but a
cigar case and the fellow glove to that which the
injured man wore. Next he felt in the waistcoat
st. olave's. 67
pocket and brought out two or three cards
which he scanned eagerly through his blue
" New name this — Ramsay, Douglas Ramsay.
Don't know any such person in this locality ; —
stranger most likely, ma'am ; tourist, I should
say, coming down perhaps from the moors up
Mr. Piflet waited for an answer. Janet replied
with a slight falter in her voice, that such was
very likely to be the case.
"Turning faint, ma'am, I perceive, said Mr.
Piflet, looking up into Miss Bruce' s pale face.
"It's an unpleasant occurrence, and I'm sorry
there didn't happen to be a public-house in the
neighbourhood, or anything of that sort to take
him to. But he won't trouble you long, ma'am,
he won't trouble you long." And then Mr.
Piflet proceeded to examine his patient.
" You will find me in the room opposite if any-
thing should be wanted," said Janet, as she went
" All right, ma'am. And if you'll allow me to
recommend you a little stimulant, just a thimble full
of brandy to exhilarate the nervous system. Some
68 st. olave's.
ladies object to the use of alcoholic beverages,
ma'am/' and there was a sly twinkle in the doctor's
eye which contradicted his words, "but I assure
you in the present emergency a very slight quan-
tity, for instance "
Janet did not wait to hear the exact dose pre-
scribed. Her strength was failing and she hurried
away that she might be alone. She went into the
sunshiny little room on the other side the entry.
All remained as she had left it an hour ago, except
that the nickering shadows of the elm tree leaves
had shifted from the blind, and a tame raven that
belonged to the cottage had hopped in through the
open window, and was balancing himself on the arm
of the chair which she had occupied. As she stood
upon the threshold now, the bird did not stir from
his place, but only glowered solemnly at her out of
his dim unblinking eyes.
She sat down, covering her face with her hands,
and tried to think. Scarce half an hour had passed
when Mr. Piflet's little quick rap was heard at the
" Sorry to interrupt you, ma'am, but I don't
see anyone else about. Some scraps of linen if you
please, rather worn will be all the better, and a few
strips, stout and strong, for bandages."
st. olave's. 69
Janet fetched them. In about a quarter of an
hour he came back again.
" A basin of water, ma'am, and a sponge, and
one or two towels. And if you think your nervous
system equal to such a strain upon it, I should be
able to complete my operations more expeditiously
with a little of your assistance."
Without a single word, Janet brought the water,
and quietly took her place with Mr. Piflet beside
the mattress. He was just beginning to bind up
the wound in the temples.
( ' Perhaps you will be kind enough to cut me off
a few strips of linen first, ma'am, about this
width," and the doctor made a notch with his
penknife ; ' ( Yes, that is quite correct ; and now
I'll trouble you to support his head. Look, so,
just raise it a little with your right arm ; there, I
see you are perfectly equal to everything I re-
Janet put back with a steady hand the heavy
locks of curling yellow hair, the hair she was once
so proud of. It was clotted and dabbled with
blood now, and in some places whole locks were
torn away as if they had been caught by out-
reaching brambles or fragments of rock, in that
u Is he very much injured ?" she said, calmly
pressing the sponge upon the wound, whilst Mr.
Piflet prepared some lint.
" Pretty tolerable,, ma'am, pretty tolerable/' and
Mr. Piflet ran over his list of casualties, as if it
had been an inventory of goods at an auction sale.
1 c Two or three ribs broken, ancle dislocated with
flesh rent, shoulder put out, severe internal in-
juries, and a few bruises and contusions; no ex-
terior wound except this in the head."
" But he does not appear to suffer much."
" Bless you no, ma'am, no more consciousness
of pain, as I said before, than a dead sheep. And
its a great mercy too. Why, if he had the use of his
faculties, he'd be shrieking out like mad, such a
hash as he's made himself. Just a little higher,
ma'am, if you please, your arm is giving way ;
but perhaps you find his head too heavy. We
might get a couple of books, I think that would
hold it up."
" No, I will hold it myself. I am not tired,"
and Janet drew the poor dying head closer to
her bosom, the resting place she once hoped it
would have all through life. But she betrayed no
sign of feeling.
ST. olave's. 71
Mr. Piflet finished binding up the wound, then
gave his hands a vigorous shake and rubbed them
briskly together. Then he scanned Janet keenly
through his blue spectacles.
' ' I must do you the credit, ma'am, of saying that
you've the most astonishing nerve for a lady that
I ever met with. Dear me, half the women in
England would have fainted fifty times over before
they'd got through what you've done this after-
noon. You're a credit to your sex, ma'am, you're a
credit to your sex. But then you see, ma'am,"
and the little man waved his hands, "circum-
stances alter cases. Now, if the unfortunate indi-
vidual had been a relative, for instance, a husband,
or some one you felt very personal to, no doubt
your fortitude would have failed, and you would
have succumbed to the ordinary weakness of your
sex. But you see strangers make a more limited
demand upon one's sympathies. I would thank
you to hold that head quite firmly for a moment
or two longer, until the bandages have had time to
settle, and then we will lay it on the pillow. I
don't see that you need be troubled with it any
Janet was glad that the doctor had talk enough
for them both. He did not wait for any reply,
but went on in a brisk nasal twang, —
" Strangers, ma'am, do not excite our sensi-
bilities to a painful extent, and we are generally
able to discharge the duties which devolve upon
us in relation to them with fortitude. I must
confess, however, Miss Bruce, that your conduct
on the present emergency is beyond praise, alto-
gether beyond praise."
Mr. Piflet emphasized this eulogistic little essay
by sundry vigorous nourishes of the sponge which
he held in his hand.
" And now," continued he, gathering together
the bits of hair which he had cut off, " I don't see
any good in prolonging my attendance at present,
especially as I have one or two other urgent cases
that are demanding my professional services. I
will leave the patient under your charge, Miss
Bruce, he cannot be in better keeping ; and in
the course of an hour or so I will look in
" And if he should revive ?" said Janet.
" Oh, bless you, ma'am, but he won't revive,
nothing of the sort. He'll die in the course of
the evening as sure as I'm a medical practitioner.
My only wonder is that the breath has kept in him
so long. I assure you, my dear madam, I
shouldn't have thought it worth while to attend to
him at all, so far as his own personal advan-
tage is concerned, but you see there will of
course be a lengthened account of the accident in
the St. ' Olave's Chronicle/ and it's more creditable
to the medical man who is called in if the
case is done up just a little for appearance sake.
If you don't mind having the trouble you can give
him a spoonful of brandy now and then ; it won't
make any difference one way or another, and you'll
feel as if you were doing something."
1 ' You can let his head go now, it will do just as
well on the pillow as in your hands," continued
Mr. Piflet, drawing on his gloves and freshening
himself up in a general way previous to his depar-
ture. " It's just possible that consciousness may
return, and in that case you must watch him, for
fear he should get restless and unloose the
bandages. If that wound begins to bleed again,
he'll be a dead man in no time. Good afternoon,
Miss Bruce, good afternoon. I'll look in again
before long," and with a second succession of
little bows, Mr. Piflet bustled away to look after
Douglas Ramsay lay quite still. His eyelids
were half open, and through the thick golden
lashes his blue eyes gleamed with a cold, glassy
stare. But there was no sign of pain yet upon the
face, that was growing paler and paler, nor the
faintest motion to tell whether life was waxing or
waning in that prostrate form which had once
been Janet's pride and joy.
And sitting down she watched him there.
|UE,ELY there is nothing on this earth
more Godlike in its forgiveness than
love. Nothing so slow to resent, so
ready to forgive, the blackest ill ; so full of that
divine spirit, which thinketh no evil, and endureth
all things. Keeping her lonely watch by the side
of this unconscious, dying man, Janet Bruce
forgave him all the wrong he had done. Memory
overpassed years of separation and faithlessness,
to rest on the old long ago time, when those eyes,
so dim and vacant now, had bent over hers with the
glorious look of tender, and, as she hoped, undying
love -, and that arm, so heavy and nerveless, held
her in its strong, protecting clasp.
In his prosperity he had forgotten her, but
dying, God had brought him back to her again,
that his head might find its last resting-place on
her breast, and his farewell breath spend itself upon
her faithful lips. She had but one wish now, that
ere he died they might once more look into each
other's eyes with the long, loving look of perfect
trust, a look wherein all the past might be
forgiven. This granted,, she could go through the
rest of life that remained to her peacefully and even
with a glad, quiet thankfulness. It was not much
to ask. That heart is surely humble enough which
prays for nothing on this side of eternity, but the
memory of gladness — only its memory. Praying
for this, Janet grew calm, and there came into
her face a happy look that had not rested there for
The day wore on. First the flickering shadows
of the vine and ivy leaves died off from the lattice
window ; the sunshine crept up and up until at
last it just crested with a golden rim the topmost
twigs of the great elm tree. Then the sun dipped
down beneath the Norlands hills, leaving upon
everything the quiet, pleasant even tint of early
summer twilight. Just the sort of gloaming that
Janet fancied her future might be.
At the prospect of having a death in the house,
Lettice had begged so piteously to be allowed to
go back to the Old Lodge, that Miss Bruce had not
the heart to refuse ; and when Colin went for the
doctor, she sent a message by him to Miss Luckie,
asking that one of the older servants might be
allowed to come to Norlands, in her place.
Early in the afternoon Mrs. Cromarty came.
None so trusty as she was in time of sorrow or
sickness. As soon as she crossed the threshold,
her very presence seemed a stay in the house.
There was a certain steady, rock-like firmness
about her, to which, in their time of need, weaker
natures unconsciously clung, and never found it
Lettice was not a model of neatness at the best
of times, and, in the bustle of her hurried flight,
had left everything in mid-day disorder. Mrs.
Cromarty laid away her bonnet and shawl and
began to set things to rights, as soon as she got
into the kitchen. Whilst doing so, she came upon
the locks of hair, some of them clotted with blood,
which Mr. Piflet had brought out of the room
after dressing Douglas Kamsay's wound. They
were lying together in a little heap on a table in
78 st. olave's.
the corner of the room. Mrs. Cromarty took up
one of them and began to smooth it over her
finger. By-and-by an expression, not of womanly
pity or tenderness, but of sternness, almost of
wrath, came into her dark face.
" Surely I know that yellow hair again," she
said to herself in an undertone. " Isn't it the
devil's own colour that shone so bright on the false
head of him as lured my young mistress away from
kith and kin, and cast her out to perish ?"
She dropped the hair. It fell amongst the rest,
coiling and uncoiling like a living thing. She
watched it for a long time, her countenance darken-
ing with bitter memories.
" I wouldn't say for certain it's him, though.
Maybe it belongs to some poor bruised creature as
has the golden hair without the grewsome heart ;
and the woman he loves may be waiting for him
now, and wondering why he stays so long. God
bless 'em, and have mercy on 'em both. It's a
weary world, it is, and them's well done to that
leaves it afore the sorrow comes."
Mrs. Cromarty did not invent any excuse for
going into the room where the dying man lay.
She knew that Janet was there, and there was a
st. olave's. 79
sort of native refinement about her that pre-
vented her from intruding unasked into the
presence of others. When she had done all that
could be done in the way of making the house
look comfortable, she took out the little Testament
which she always carried in her pocket, and sitting
down in the open doorway, began to read. Pre-
sently Miss Bruce tapped on the wall ; there were
no bells in the cottage at Norlands.
Mrs. Cromarty laid her book down and obeyed
the summons. Janet was bending over Douglas
Ramsay, so that his face was hidden. Only those
heavy masses of golden hair seemed to make a
sunshine in the room.
" Mrs. Cromarty, I would thank you to bring
me fresh water and a sponge, in case these ban-
dages should give way."
Mrs. Cromarty fetched them.
" And can I watch him, ma'am, while you rest ?
You're looking weary, and it's sort o' lonesome
tending strange folk. It's none like sitting by
one's own kin."
Janet looked wistfully at the poor helpless form
lying before her. Ah ! if he had only given her
the right, years and years ago, to take the place
she held by him now ! But God had given it
to her at last, and none should keep her
"You are very good, Mrs. Cromarty, but I
will stay with him. It is not wearisome to me.
You see he does not suffer much; he lies quite
still. And Janet moved slightly to one side, so as
to let the pale face be seen.
Mrs. Cromarty looked steadfastly upon it, but
spoke no word, and then left the room, closing
the door quietly after her.
"It's him," she whispered, as she went back
into the kitchen. "I could have told that face
among a thousand. And so his proud deeds have
come back upon him. Verily the Lord plentifully
rewardeth the evil doer I"
By-and-by Mrs. Edenall came in, and without
staying to speak to any one, went upstairs into
her own room. Janet pondered how best to tell
her of the startling change which had come over
that peaceful little household since she left it.
Mrs. Edenall was easily unnerved. Even to
listen to any story of suffering made her shiver
and turn pale ; and since her health failed, she
had been more susceptible to any sudden shock.
This room, too, where Douglas Ramsay lay, was
the one where she generally passed her time in
an evening. It was farther away from household
sounds than the other, and had a pleasanter out-
look into the garden. She must be told at once ;
there was no time to lose.
Janet listened to Mrs. EdenalFs footstep on
the stairs, and then came out, taking care to shut
the door after her.
" No, we will not pass our time there to-night,"
she said, as Mrs. Edenall laid her hand upon
the latch, to go in as usual ; " come and let us sit
in the other parlour."
Mrs. Edenall followed her, and they sat down
side by side in the old-fashioned window-seat,
looking out into the garden. The flowers were
all closed up now, and not a sound was to be
heard but the far away babble of the Luthen
on the rocks below. Janet shivered as she
" You are cold," said Mrs. Edenall, " and the
night air blows sharp ; let us have a fire
lighted in the blue room, and finish our evening-
VOL. III. G
82 st. olave's.
"No, I am not cold, indeed I am not cold;
it was only the chill from this open window.
Have yon had a pleasant day V s
"Pleasant, yes, it has been pleasant," and
there came up a sunshiny smile over Mrs.
Eden all's face ; " and what do you think, Janet,
I do believe I went to sleep for nearly all the
afternoon, sitting on one of those stone coffins. I
had taken f Joan of Arc' with me, and was read-
ing that beautiful farewell to her native valleys —
you remember it, don't you ? I once heard you
say you had read it."
And Mrs. Edenall began to repeat in her
low, rich voice, those tender, passionate, yearn-
ing verses : —
" Lebwohl ihr Berge, ihr geliebten Triften,
Ihr traulich stillen Thaler, lebet wohl !
Johanna wird nun nicht mehr auf euch wandeln,
Johanna sagt euch ewig Lebewohl."
"I read them over many times, and then I
must have fallen asleep, for I had the dearest,
Surely it had been a dear dream, if only the
memory of it brought that smile to Mrs. Edenall' s
st. olave's. 83
"It was about a friend, a very dear friend,
whom I lost many years ago, nearly twenty
years ago. I thought we were together again,
and all the dreary time between was forgotten;
all the pain and weariness. It was a very beau-
tiful dream. I think of it now as we do of
perfect music. I think some one came past and
woke me, for when I opened my eyes the grass
was trampled down just before me, and some of
the wild flowers were broken."
Then they were silent for awhile, Janet trying
to think of some words in which to tell her of that
other thing, which seemed scarce more than a
dream in its strange suddenness.
" Miss Bruce," said Mrs. Edenall, by-and-by,
<c I think you must have been having a nap this
' ' No, indeed," said Janet, wearily ; but why ?"
" Well if you had, I should say that while you
slept the enemy came and — not exactly sowed
tares, but tore down those beautiful sweet peas
which climb over the garden gate ; not the
large gate, you know, but the little wooden stile
which leads down to the ravine path. The blos-
soms were scattered far into the garden when I
84 s.t. olave's.
came in, as if some one had got his feet entangled
in them and dragged them along. Alice Grey
will be so grieved, for those flowers were quite
Janet remembered that was the gate at which
the men who carried Douglas Ramsay came in.
" Some people have been here this afternoon,
Mrs. Edenall ; you will have to hear it, and I may
as well tell you now ; something fearful has hap-
pened since you went away this morning."
" Indeed, it cannot be very dreadful, for you
look so calm. Have some thieves been about V
" No. You remember the Norlands landslip."
" The landslip. Ah, I cannot forget that."
" A gentleman was riding past there this after-
noon, and his horse took fright, and both were
thrown down together."
" Oh ! how shocking. And did the men bring
him through the garden, then, on their way to St.
" No, they have left him here. He is lying in
the room opposite, now."
" Oh ! Janet, and you have been alone all day
with no one to help you. How cruel. Has any-
one been sent for ?"
st. olave's. 85
" Yes. Colin went for the nearest doctor, and
a person from Little Priory Street came ; a Mr.
Prflet. He did what he could for him, and promised
to come again soon."
"And the poor fellow will have to stay
here until he recovers so far as to be able to
" He will never recover. Mr. Pi net says he
will in all probability die before morning. I am
very sorry for you/' added Janet, seeing that
Mrs. Edenall trembled and could scarcely keep
her seat. "I was afraid it would be a great
shock to you. If only the house at Westwood
had been ready for you to go there. But you
could not do that, it has been shut up so
"1 don't want to go anywhere, Janet. I
will stay with you. I am not so frightened as
you think. Where is he ? let me try if I can
help him ; is he very much hurt ?"
" Internally, very much, but there is no wound
that you can perceive except on the temples, and
Mr. Piflet has bound it up. He has never spoken
at all since they brought him in, and I don't
think he suffers."
86 st. olave's.
" And have none of his friends come? Is
there no one who cares anything about him ?"
For the first time Janet's voice faltered. She
said very faintly —
" He has no friends that we know of. He ap-
pears to be a stranger."
' ' And can you not ascertain his name ?"
Janet could not trust herself to speak those two
words which had once held for her such a world of
happiness. She murmured out something about
a card with a strange name upon it, not known in
" But I must go back to him/' she said, " I
have been a long time away now. Mr. Piflet said
he might revive a little just at the last ; we must
not leave him alone."
She left the room, but turned faint and was
obliged to go into the garden for a moment. The
cool night air revived her, and then she went back
to the room where Douglas Ramsay lay. As she
passed the little sitting-room she noticed that it
was empty, and the door of the other parlour,
that she had closed carefully after her, was stand-
ing wide open. The sight which met her as she
stood upon its threshold first startled, and then as
st. olave's. 87
all its meaning slowly dawned, benumbed her into
a cold, dull stupor of grief and horror.
Mrs. Edenall had thrown herself upon the mat-
tress beside the dying man. His unconsciousness
seemed to have passed away ; he moved now and
then as if in pain ; the linen which bound his
wounds had given way, and blood was slowly
oozing out again upon the pillow. Mrs. EdenalFs
head was on his breast, her arms clasped round
his neck. She was weeping passionately, and as
from time to time she raised her face to kiss the
cold whitening lips, she murmured through her
u Douglas, Douglas ! speak to me, speak to me
once more before you die ! Oh ! Douglas, my
own, my only one i"
Janet understood it all ; dimly at first, and then
with cruel, vivid, intense pain. This was the
woman for whose love her own had been cast
away. This Mrs. Edenall, whom she had cherished
as a sister, who had sat by her fireside and slept
beneath the shadow of her roof, was the stranger
whose fair face had beguiled him from his truth,
and quenched out of her life all its hope and joy.
Janet comprehended now the fitful restlessness
88 st. olave's.
the proud reserve which never spoke of the past,
the long intervals of gloomy silence, or wild,
impetuous excitement. For one moment all the
pride and purity of her nature revolted from this
guilty creature who lay prostrate before her ; this
woman who was a sinner.
But only for a moment. It was no time for
upbraiding. With one quick prayer for help, she
pressed out of sight the bitterness of the past.
Without a word of reproach or surprise she went
quietly round to her own place by Douglas
Ramsay's pillow, and began to replace the band-
ages which had fallen off. Her hands were very
steady, her face gave no sign of the agony within.
She washed away the blood which was trickling
over his forehead, and smoothed back the heavy
tangled hair. As she did so, he muttered very
faintly — they were the first words he had spoken —
" Soft and cool like Janet's hand — Poor Janet
Bruce. I ought not "
And then his voice died out in a fluttering gasp.
Mrs. EdenalFs face had been hidden on his breast
all the while ; now she sprang to her feet like a
wild creature. As with a lightning flash of intel-
ligence, she, too, understood it all. Her whole
frame shook and trembled with excitement ; her
face grew stormy in its fury. Drawing her-
self np to her full height, she glared fiercely down
Janet returned the glance with one, calm, pure,
un blenching — one before which guilt might cower
and soiled memory blush. But Mrs. Edenall did
For a long time those two women stood looking
into each other's faces, through the moments of a
silence, broken only by the low breathing of the
dying man, which was growing feebler and more
fluttering at every gasp.
He muttered something, and moved restlessly.
Janet bent over him ; but Mrs. Edenall pushed
her fiercely away.
" He is mine, only mine ; he is my husband.
You never loved him as I did; your northern
blood is cold, cold. He deceived me and forsook
me, but I love him still; he belonged to no one
but me. Douglas, speak to me, my darling, and
tell me you are mine, only mine."
She pressed her face close to his, raining down
upon it a flood of hot passionate tears. Then there
was silence. By-and-by a faint light flickered
over the ashen countenance; a beam of intelligence
broke feebly from the glazing half-open eyes,,
which had wandered to Mrs. EdenalFs face.
Janet's was turned away that she might not look
upon its paleness.
"Douglas, you know me, you love me, you
speak to me ! Say it again, Douglas, my own, my
" Marian ! Marian \"
And so, with her warm lips brooding over his,
and her great, deep, passionate eyes pouring out
their flood of tenderness upon him, Douglas
It was Janet's hand which closed his eyes and
straightened those stalwart limbs for their death
rest. Then she would have led Mrs. Edenall
away, but Marian shook her off with a wild im-
perious gesture, and clung more closely to the
corpse, covering with tears and caresses the wan
face that could feel neither any more.
Very patiently Janet rose, and left the room.
It was no place for her now, the unloved, the for-
saken one. She might not even watch over the
last sleep of him whom living she had loved so
well. She dragged her slow, weary steps into the
little sitting-room, and crouched down on the
window-seat, looking out into the greying twilight.
Then she clasped her hands over her face, and
tears, the bitterest Janet Bruce had ever shed,
came slowly trickling through the thin fingers.
All was so utterly dreary and hopeless. Nothing
in the present of her life, nothing in the future,
but only dim, patient endurance. God forgive
her that, in the first bitterness of that sorrow, she
prayed as a greater than she once did, " Oh, that
I now might die \ 3i
So often, groping through clouds and thick
darkness, we stretch our feeble hands to heaven
and cry for light ; only one gleam to lighten the
shadows of the road — only one ray to show where
we may plant our feet without treading upon
thorns. And then comes to us that solemn voice,
sounding across the gulf of ages and centuries,
clear as when first it stilled the Patriarch's
questionings, "He giveth no account of any of
His matters." Listening to this voice, we learn to
wait patiently, until heaven shall bring the open
Janet learned to wait, too. In that hour the
bitterness of death passed ; the bitterness of life,
too, which is sometimes keener than any death can
The room grew dark — so dark that she could
not see the tall, drooping figure that came gliding
towards her, until Mrs. Edenall knelt at her side.
Her hands sought Janet 's in the darkness, and
held them tight. By-and-by there was a voice ;
It was low, humble as a little child's —
" Janet, forgive me, I loved him very much/'
And, because in the calm, majestic presence of
death, all human wrongs fade away, Janet pressed
her lips on the poor worn face, and the past was
J. HEY had been sitting there for nearly
an hour, when Mrs. Cromarty came up
m the long stone passage which led from
the kitchen into the front of the house. Some
white linen hung over her arm ; in one hand she
held a small oil-lamp, in the other a basin and
towels. She paused as she passed the open parlour
door, and, flashing the light of her lamp into
the little room, she said, in a calm, deliberate
" I am going to attend to the body, ma'am."
"The body," nothing but "the body." Oh,
the chill that steals into our hearts when am
human form that we have caressed and fondled,
94 st. olave's.
over which we have poured smiles of loving tender-
ness or tears of sympathy, comes to be spoken of
as only "the body." Oh, the loneliness — far
worse than death — which those must feel whose
faith looks no farther than this — whose creed
leaves nothing of departed friends but " the body V 9
Janet shivered, but said nothing, and Mrs.
Cromarty passed on.
By-and-by, Janet, utterly over-worn and weary,
went away to her own room for such rest as sleep
could give. Mrs. Edenall stayed behind. In the
dark and stillness, she could hear distinctly the
sounds that came from the other side of the
passage ; the plash of water, the muffle of the linen
wrappings, the fall of something, now and then,
as Mrs. Cromarty moved about the dead man.
She had been sitting there for a long time,
when Mrs. Cromarty passed again and went into
the kitchen. Mrs. Edenall fancied she heard her
bolting the outer doors, and, thinking that all was
quiet for the night, she stole noiselessly into the
Douglas Ramsay was still lying on the mattress
in the middle of the floor, where the men had
first laid him ; but everything about him now was
pure snowy white. The large sheet which was
thrown over him revealed the grand outline of his
figure, unworn by sickness, and unmarred even
by the fearful accident that had befallen him.
The feeble glimmer of the lamp-light flickered
upon the golden hair, which, like a glory, fell
around his brow. There was just a gleam of
glassy blue through the thick eyelashes, and the
lips had stiffened into the still rigid lines that
no more human passion could have leave to break.
His hands — those great strong nervy hands which,
last time she saw him, were thrust out in horror,
as if to bid her away — clasped each other peace-
fully upon his breast, just as his mother might
have placed them years and years ago, when he
lay an innocent baby on her knee.
She threw herself down beside him once more,
and laid her white cheek to his ; the lamp scarce
showed which wore most of death's hue. Ah ! he
had been very cruel and very wicked; he had
wronged and deceived her, but that was over now.
All the old wild passionate love came surging
back again to her heart.
" Douglas ! Douglas Ramsay ! " she moaned
forth, clasping the poor dead head to her breast.
ST. OLAVE S.
" I gave up all for the love of you ; speak to me
once more, Douglas, my own, my only one ! *
And then she kissed his lips, his eyelids, the
hands which lay folded in the icy stillness of
Mrs. Cromarty had been into the kitchen to
fetch a fresh supply of oil for the lamp. She
stood in the open doorway now. For awhile she
paused, her eyes fixed on the two prostrate figures
before her. She gazed intently from one to the
other. The golden hair she knew but too well,
not the grey tresses that were mingling with it.
While she looked in wonderment and perplexity,
Mrs. Edenall rose and knelt bv the side of the
mattress, her hands clasped upon the pillow where
Douglas Ramsay's head lay.
"But/' she said, at last, "he did love me.
"Mine was the last name he spoke — c Marian,
Marian ! ' Oh ! if I could hear it once more,
only once more ! "
Mrs. Cromarty's swarthy face grew pale; a
look of infinite compassion, not unmixed with a
certain stern indignation, came over it. She
stepped a few paces forward, set down the little
phial of oil she had brought with her, and laid a
hand on Mrs. EdenalPs shoulder.
st. olave's. 97
" My lady, Miss Marian Brandon \"
The name silent now for nearly twenty years ;
the maiden name, buried with the innocence of
maidenhood. Mrs. Edenall looked np. One
quick glance of recognition passed between them;
then she crouched at Mrs. Cromarty 's feet and
buried her face in her dress.
" Honor Grant ! you have come back to call
my sin to my remembrance. Do not despise me.
I erred, but I have suffered very much."
" God forbid, Miss Marian ! " and Mrs.
Cromarty bent wistfully down over the worn
features, pale and sharpened now, yet retaining
still the faint impress of their girlish beauty.
" Ye have enough to bear, and FH no make the
burden heavier. It's small call one poor human
sinner has to despise another ! The Lord knows
I've prayed for ye night and day, that if ye were
living, He would send peace to your poor heart ;
for ye did it ignorantly, I aye believed that.
Come away, my lady, now. This is not the place
Mrs. Cromarty raised her tenderly and carried
her away to her own room — just as, more than
thirty years ago, she had carried her, a fair-haired,
VOL. III. h
98 st. olave's.
sleeping little girl, to the lace-curtained cot, in
the stately manor of Brandon.
Next morning Alice Grey came. She had
heard of the accident, not the death which fol-
lowed so closely upon it. She only saw Miss
Bruce, for Mrs. Edenall was too ill to leave her
Janet received her very calmly. To strangers,
or even to such a friend as Alice Grey, the death-
stroke which had come must be spoken of as
" a sudden shock," " a very painful accident."
Nothing more than this ; no word of the hopes
it had stricken down, or of the bitter waters
into which forgiveness had cast the branch of
"And for you to have had the trouble of it,
oh, Miss Bruce, I was sorry ! 9> said Alice, feeling
as if her kindness in bringing Janet and Mrs.
Edenall to Norlands had been somehow at fault.
"If only more of the servants had been here,
I should not have minded so much; but it was
such a terrible thing for you to be left alone with
him, except Mrs. Cromarty. I almost wonder
you did not go away."
"That would not have been kind, Alice.
don't think you would have done so yourself.
I was glad — I was very thankful to be able to
watch over him."
" Ah ! but you are so good ; even strangers are
sure to be cared for by you."
Even strangers ! Janet clutched the white
curtains in her hand as Alice said this. They
were sitting in the broad, low window- seat of the
little parlour, looking out into the garden, where
a few withered sweet-pea blossoms, torn off by
the men as they brought Douglas Ramsay
through the gate, were still scattered about.
Even strangers ! She was very thankful that no
one, not even Alice Grey, knew what Douglas
had been to her.
" Does he suffer very much, Miss Bruce ? "
said Alice, toying carelessly with the ivy leaves
that straggled in through the open window.
" Not now. He died last night."
Alice let the ivy branch drop from her hands
and her face grew a shade paler. Death was more
a real thing to her now than it had been six
months ago. She was quiet for a little while, and
then said with the slightest possible fall in her
voice : —
100 st. olave's.
u He would not be able to see any of his friends.
I wonder if lie bad a wife,, or — or anyone be loved
very mucb. It is bard to die quite alone. Do
you know if be was a stranger bere ?"
C( I believe be was."
" And did be tell you anything about bow the
accident happened ; was he able to speak before
his death ? Oh, Miss Bruce, I beg your pardon, I
ought not to have talked so much about him/'
Alice said hurriedly, seeing Janet's utter pallor
and the trembling that had seized her. " It was
such a terrible thing, I am sure it must have
shaken you very much. Don't tell me any more
now, we will talk about something else."
Janet was glad of the release. She leaned back
in her chair and closed her eyes. Yes, it was in-
deed painful to recal those last words of his, or
"You must not stay here," said Alice, as if
anxious to change the subject. " Westwood is
not ready for you to go to, but you can come to
the Old Lodge. You know he was nothing to
either of you, and you can do him no more good.
Go back with me this morning. I told Miss
Luckie I should bring you."
st. olave's. 101
Much to her surprise, Janet declined.
1 ' You are very kind,, Alice., but for myself I
would rather stay here until after he is buried. It
will do me no harm."
" That is just like you, Miss Bruce. If you had
loved him," a faint blush dyed Alice's cheek —
c ' If you had loved him as much as I love Cuth-
bert, you could not have done more for
Janet almost felt the shadow of a smile come to
her lips as Alice said this. Was that young girl's
fancy, the plaything of a passing hour, fed on
caresses and sweet words, to be placed side by side
with the overmastering love, strong through disap-
pointment and holy through suffering, which had
bound her to Douglas Ramsay ?
But she said nothing more about it, and quietly
turned the conversation into a different direction
until it was time for Alice to go away.
" If you won't come with me I suppose I must
leave you. But Janet, you bear trouble so quietly.
If it hadn't been for just that one little tremble in
your voice, I should scarcely have known that
anything was the matter. I wonder if it is the
manner of your country to be so still and staid.
102 st. olave's.
I'm sure if it is., Mr. Bruce was quite wrong when
he said I had Scottish blood in my veins." And
with that Alice left the room.
" Who said you had Scottish blood in your
veins, darling ?" said Mrs. Cromarty, who was com-
ing out of the blue room and met Alice in the
long stone passage.
" Only Mr. Bruce, nearly a year ago. I re-
member it very well/' and there came a pleased,
softened look over Alice's face, " I was copying
out some music for him, and I happened to say
the name of a place in Scotland which English
people can never pronounce. And I did it so well
he said I must belong to the country in some
way. May I come through your kitchen, Mrs.
Cromarty, I want to give a message to Colin be-
fore I go ?"
' ' Yes, and welcome, Miss Alice ; you'll leave a
streak o' sunshine in it where you pass, and we
want it sadly the day."
Alice followed her. As she passed through, she
caught sight of the little table in the corner where
the locks of Douglas Bamsay's hair were still
lying. From a sort of superstitious feeling Mrs.
Cromarty forbore to burn them and intended that
ST. OLAVE S. 103
they should be buried in the coffin. Alice went
up to the table.
"Is that some of his hair, Mrs. Cromarty, I
mean does it belong to the person, the gentleman
who was killed?"
" 'Deed and it does, Miss Alice. Yon's Douglas
" Douglas Ramsay " — Alice mused a while.
" Mrs. Cromarty, do you know if Dunnie is the
pet name for Douglas in Scotland ?"
"Maybe it is, honey. Scotch folk handles
their christened names so queer, while ye never
know what's what. They call Isabella, Isy, an'
that beautiful name Margaret, as is fit for a born
Queen in England, is never nought but Maggie
when ye get t'other side o' t' Tweed."
" Because poor Aunt Amiel used to talk about
a little boy called Dunnie, that she knew a long
long time ago, before Uncle Grey died. And he
had beautiful curling golden hair, that must have
been just like this."
" Happen it might, Miss Alice. Scotch folk
mostly has golden hair, I've heerd tell."
"Mr. Bruce hasn't, and I'm glad of it, for
Mrs. Edenall says golden hair is false ; she would
104 st. olave's.
never trust golden hair, and you know Mr. Bruce
is as true as the sun."
" He is, honey, that's the right word ye've said;
Mr. Bruce is as true as the sun. It'll be good
luck to her as he weds, for where he loves once he
loves for ever. It 'ud be a better world nor it is
if folks all did the same."
There was a long pause, during which Alice
wound and unwound the yellow lock upon her
finger, thinking the while of Cuthbert. She was
quite sure he would be always true. At last she said,
" Mrs. Cromarty, may I go and see him, this
gentleman who is dead ? You know, since poor
Aunt Amiel died I have not been afraid. I should
like to look at him."
Mrs. Cromarty had something of the notion so
common amongst poor people, that strangers pay
a sort of respect to the dead by asking to see them.
So she made no objection, but took the key out of
her pocket and preceded Alice to the room where
Douglas Ramsay lay. She waited, standing upon
the threshold whilst Alice went in alone.
The young girl removed the linen sheet, and
bending down her face, gazed earnestly upon his.
No sleeping face need have been calmer. Alice
ST. olave's. 105
laid her hand upon his cheek, she wound her
fingers in and out amongst his golden hair. At
last — it was a strange thing for her to do — she
stooped over him and without a shudder pressed
her lips to his forehead, once, twice, and
Mrs. Cromarty stood at the door watching
her. As she did so, she noted a faint resem-
blance between the two faces. There was the
same broad, round, open brow, the same clearly
pencilled eyebrow, and full drooping lid. When
the sunlight fell on Alice's hair too, it was of
the same tint as that which lay upon the
death pillow. As Mrs. Cromarty watched the
two, a vague thought crept into her mind,
gradually shaping itself into clearness. Was it
indeed so, that this young girl, this Alice, was no
niece of Mistress Amiel Grey's, but the child, the
base-born child of Marian Brandon ; and was she
now bending over her father's corpse ? She looked
keenly at Alice from beneath the shade of her
dark overhanging brows. Alice glancing, up saw
the look and its mute questioning.
" You are thinking it is very strange that I
should kiss him, but he looks so quiet, I
am not at all afraid. I have such a feeling as
if I had seen that face before."
She replaced the linen cloth, and without
another word they both left the room. Mrs.
Cromarty locked the door. She never mentioned
to anyone the suspicion which had crossed her
mind. She possessed in an eminent degree,
when needful, the rare gift of silence ; but like
Mary she kept this thing, and pondered it in her
When Alice got out into the Norlands road,
the sunlight flashed upon something entangled
in the fringes of her parasol. It was a tress
of that golden hair which had lain on the little
table in the kitchen. Alice would not throw it
away. She wove it, as she walked along, into a
little knot, a true lover's knot like the one
Cuthbert had given her in a locket, not long
ago. So for the second time that day, love and
death came together in her thoughts. Then
she folded it up in a broad leaf that she
gathered from a sycamore-tree by the road-side,
and put it into her pocket-book. It was such
KW|I||i HEY buried Douglas Ramsay in the
uffiS a deserted churchyard of Upper Nor-
mw^wwa lands, near by the Roman tower
where the little coffin lay. The day after his
death, Janet wrote to the housekeeper of Glen
Ramsay, informing her of the accident. In the
course of a few days the family solicitor came
down from Perth. He had an interview with
Miss Bruce and Mr. Piflet, visited the grave,
and then returned into Scotland, carrying back
with him the few valuables which were found
on the body. The Glen Ramsay estate, which
was entailed, passed to a distant member of
108 st. olave's.
No one attended the funeral officially, except
Mr. Piflet and the undertaker. There was the
usual string, however, of ragged little children,
slatternly women, and idle out-of-work men who
had strayed down from St. Olave's to see the
sight. From the narrow parapet of Norlands
tower, two sad-hearted women in mourning
watched it all; and when the last lingering by-
stander had sauntered off, and the sexton
shouldering his spade, was whistling homewards
through the cornfields, they came down and
stood for a long time side by side over the
mound which was now the only memorial of
him who had blasted both their lives.
The veil was rent from between them that
once so thickly covered all the past. No need
now to shrink from the mention of it, lest a
chance word should betray its sins or sorrows.
Nay more, each had now a right to know what
that past had been. Janet only had to tell of
trust dishonoured, of promises broken, of a life
shattered by grief, in which no fault of hers
had been. For Mrs. Edenall, the story was
As they came home in the dreamy sunshine
ST. olave's. 109
of that July afternoon, she spoke of the old
time, of her maiden home — she kept back its
name though, and her own, too — of the first
meeting with Douglas Ramsay, their wild,
passionate love, his vows and promises, that
midnight flight into Scotland, followed by the
" I did not know it was false then. He gave
me this," and she pointed to the ring which
hung so loosely on her shrunk finger, "He
gave me this, and I thought all was well. I
had never been deceived before, Janet, I did
not know what it meant," and something like
a flash of scorn lighted up those great grey eyes,
melting down into yearning tenderness as she
turned and saw the black mould of Douglas
Ramsay' s grave darkening the greensward of
Norlands churchyard. " I love him still, though,"
she said quickly, as if even to remember his sin
were a wrong, " I love him still. I never gave
over loving him. I never take back what I give
Then she told of those few brief stormy weeks
of alternate love and jealousy at Bulach; his
desertion, and her loneliness. After that, the
110 ST. olave's.
birth of her child, and the dreary journey back
to the home she had disgraced.
"Oh/' said Janet, "I did not know you
were a mother," and she recalled Mrs. Edenall's
face as she had once bent over that little
coffin in the Norlands tower.
" I am not, now ; my child is dead, and I shall
not dare to look upon its face in heaven. Janet,
we can never forget our sins, neither in this world
nor the next. The stain of them may pass away,
but their memory, never."
" Tell me more," said Janet.
" I could not bear to look upon my child, its
baby fingers burned me, its innocent eyes killed
me ; I tried to destroy it, and they put me into an
asylum. I suppose I was mad, but I don't know.
I think I was there a long time, and when I came
out they told me my child was gone, dead ;
Janet, I was so glad. I could not endure to look
upon her. I hope she will not know me in heaven.
I laughed and said it was better so. They thought
I was mad still ; but it was only because I loved
her so much ! Can you understand that, Janet ?
Think what it is for a mother to give a child a life
that is worse than death, a life that can never be
ST. OLAVE'S. Ill
anything else than a stain to her. Think if
that girl, Alice, with her golden brown hair and
her guileless face, wore a brand of shame that her
mother had given her, that kept her back from love
and home, and all that women care for — had she
not better die ?"
But Janet said nothing, and Mrs. Edenall went
" My father and mother died too. They had no
child but me, and I broke their hearts — a pleasant
memory, is it not ? I could not stay in the house
where I had been an innocent girl, so I wandered
far off and lived where no one knew me, away
amongst the Lakes. But visitors came there, and
I was afraid ; so my solicitors advertised for a
quiet home for a lady — a lady, Janet — and you
took me in.
"That is all. You see I have been a great
sinner. Cast me from you if you choose ; it is no
more than other people have done."
Janet looked at her. Her face was very wan,
but a mocking light gleamed and glittered in her
strange eyes, the light of nickering reason. Yes,
the poor brain had been all too rudely shaken.
That death in life which is worse than death itself,
was surely nearing ; it was even now upon her.
Suddenly she started forward with a fierce
gesture, as though she would have sprung down
" This is the place !" she cried.
It was, indeed. They went to Norlands by the
fields, to avoid passing the landslip, but coming
home again, Janet's thought were pre-occupied,
and she had taken the turning which led to the
ravine path. Just now the precipice gaped
beneath them. All around, the earth was torn up
by the tramp of horses' hoofs. Here and there
branches were broken from the trees, and great
clusters of bracken were rooted out and scattered
along the rocks.
Just that one smothered shriek, such as Douglas
Eamsay might have uttered when his horse took
that fearful leap, and Mrs. Edenall was calm
" Don't go away/' she said. This is the spot
where he fell. Let us sit down and feel it all."
She sat down on the bank where they had all
rested, the afternoon of the pic-nic, and leaned
against the same tree which had kept her from
death there. But neither of them spoke of that.
She smoothed the torn earth with her hands, from
time to time loosening a pebble and watching it
roll gently down the steep incline.
"Yon see it is not very terrible," she said,
"they go down so quietly. Janet, I wonld like
to be there too and slip gently away to that river
and to death. If only the good God would let ns
die when dying is easier than living."
By-and-by she took a little book out of her
pocket and laid it on the sloping edge of the ravine.
It began to glide down, but more slowly than the
stone had done, for now and then a fern spray
stopped it, or a tuft of blue-bells tangled it amongst
their slender stems. She leaned forwards, far for-
wards over the ravine to watch it down, so far that
Janet feared some sudden fancy might win her to
follow it. She held her dress tightly with both
" Janet," Mrs. Edenall muttered in a hoarse
" What is it ?" said Miss Bruce.
"Look there," and she pointed to a ledge of
rock some fifty feet below them.
A stunted ash tree, gnarled and knotted, grew
out from a rift in the rock. It was leafless as
VOL. III. I
though blasted by some lightning flash. On one
of its grey branches a curl of golden hair, his hair,
gleamed in the sunshine ; and with every stray
breeze that passed, a silken scarf of the Ramsay
tartan fluttered to and fro.
The sight of them turned Janet faint. " Come
away," she said, feebly. " This is no place for
But Mrs. Edenall looked steadily down.
" I must have them," she said, as the ashen pale
lips drew farther and farther back from her
clenched teeth. " I will have them," and she set
her feet down to climb the sharp rocks that jutted
Janet held her back by main force. Only to
certain death could any, even the most surefooted,
descend that gaping chasm. Mrs. Edenall struggled
to get free, but she was very weak now ; Janet
soothed her by promising that they should come
again some time ; and then keeping fast hold of
her arm, they set off towards the cottage.
Mrs. Edenall spoke no more after that. Unre-
sistingly enough she suffered Janet to lead her
homewards. But as she paused again and again,
and turned towards the spot where that tress of
golden hair shimmered in the sunshine, there was
a set, determinate look in her face which thrilled
Miss Bruce with a new and nameless fear. Janet re-
solved as soon as they got back to Norlands to
send for Dr Greenwood, and see if something
could not be done to remove those dismal death
trophies, not alone for the sickening horror which
they had struck into her own heart, but because
she knew that whilst they remained there, Mrs.
EdenaU's life was scarce worth an hour's purchase.
She reached home weary and anxious, filled
with a new dread that was not altogether un-
healthy for her, since it kept her from brooding
upon the memories of the past few days. Poor
Janet, it seemed as if her life were only given her
to care for others, as if all of love and kindness
that lay within her soul could only prove itself by
suffering j suffering and patience, never anything
else but these.
§gKWH|BSHE terrible accident at Norlands caused
'^▼AvilJs a g rea ^ commotion in St. Olave's. The
^ KSSBS;HSSKac ^ local papers were full of it, and loud
were the encomiums bestowed on Janet and Mrs.
Edenall for the disinterested kindness with which
they had tended the unfortunate sufferer. The
old Cathedral city could afford to recognize the
existence of Miss Bruce now. In a few days,
however, the excitement died away. People no
longer came over from St. Olave's to visit the
scene of the accident. The gossip which had been
so rife about the dead man's name, his position,
his probable wealth, and so forth, wore itself out,
and in less than a fortnight the whole affair had
ceased to be mentioned, except as a landmark for
some other event which it kept in remem-
But the curl of golden hair and the Ramsay scarf
fluttered still from the withered ash tree branch.
Over and over again, attempts had been made
to reach and bring them down. To descend from
the Norlands side of the landslip was simply im-
possible ; to climb up from the brink of the river
below, equally so. Some had tried to sling them
with a noose ; the deftest marksmen among the
St. Olave's officers had fired at them from boats
on the river or from stations along the edge of the
ravine, but no shot had leave to reach its aim.
Through hail and lightning storms, through beat-
ing rain and driving wind they fluttered on still.
It seemed as if some invisible Rispah kept watch
over them and suffered neither heaven nor earth to
blast these ghastly relics of the dead.
Day after day wore on. Janet longed to be
back again at Westwood, both for her own sake
and that Mrs. Edenall might be sheltered from
the terrible memories that belonged to Norlands.
Tibbie was written to, and a time fixed for her
return. As soon as she had got all ready, thoy
would go back to the quiet little home, where, if
they could not forget the past, its remembrance
might not press so bitterly upon them. Janet
grew more and more anxious about Mrs. Edenall.
The terrible excitement of the last week or two,
following so closely upon long weakness and ill-
health, had been too much for her, and her mind
was evidently giving way. Sometimes she was
irritable and restless. For hours together she
would pace up and down the long stone t passage
that led from the kitchen to the sitting-rooms,
muttering to herself in low impatient whispers.
At such times, Janet never left her for a moment.
More than once, before they had learned to un-
derstand her ways, she had slipped out through
the garden and got far away on the ravine path
without being missed.
Once, she had quite reached the landslip, and
Mrs. Cromarty going in search of her had found
her stooping far over its edge, her eyes fixed with
keen, hungry, quivering gaze on the scarf that
was floating to and fro far away beneath.
At other times she was patient and passive,
quiet as a little child. It seemed then as if all
action or energy was quenched out of her nature.
Hour after hour she would lie on the sofa in the
room where Douglas Ramsay died, twining one of
her own long tresses of hair round and round her
wan fingers, stroking it with a peaceful,
patient smile, her lips moving all the while with
Dr. Greenwood came to see her, and advised her
speedy return to Westwood. If she could be
kept perfectly quiet for a few weeks the malady
might be warded off, but every day at Norlands, he
said, was hastening the crisis and rendering it less
likely that the balance of reason could be pre-
At last, it was towards the end of July — Tibbie
came home again, and the Westwood house was
prepared for their return. It was the closing day
of their visit to Norlands. For more than a week
Mrs. Edenall had been very quiet, quiet and pas-
sive. It seemed as if her excitement was gra-
dually wearing away, and they hoped that years of
peace might even yet be in store for her. Janet
had been very busy most of the day, packing up
their things ready for the return to Westwood
next morning, and when all the preparations were
completed she came down in her bonnet and clonk
120 st. olave's.
to accompany Mrs. Edenall to the little church-
yard at Norlands. One more visit they were to
pay, before that place, with all its memories and
associations, came to be laid away amongst the
things of the past.
To her surprise the parlour was empty, so was
Mrs. EdenalFs bedroom. Then she went into the
kitchen. Mrs Cromarty was sitting reading in
the trellised doorway that led out into the yard
behind the house. She had seen Mrs. Edenall
scarce half-an-hour before, walking quietly back-
wards and forwards in the orchard path. Janet
sought her there, but no one answered to her call.
She went back again into the parlour and waited
for nearly an hour, listening for the tread of foot-
steps upon the gravel walk. None came. Then,
with a chill sickening sense of danger at hand,
she set off down the ravine path to Norlands.
She reached the landslip without meeting a
creature. All was very still and peaceful. The
sunlight lay in golden strips upon the yellowing
corn-fields and crept in and out through the dark-
ening glades of the fir-tree plantation which stretch-
ed away to the northern uplands. Very greyly upon
the deepening eastern sky rose the rugged outline
ST. olave's. 121
of the Roman tower ; with a soft musical ripple the
river Luthen gushed below, swaying the tall flag
leaves as it went, and singing the white water-
lilies to sleep upon its breast.
For awhile Janet paused, lulled into forgetful-
ness by the quiet beauty of the place. Ere she
turned to go away, she leaned over the ravine for
a last look at the death relics below. Perhaps it
might be long before she saw them again. Steady-
ing herself against the birch stem that grew upon
the brink, she bent carefully forward.
There were the rifted rocks jutting out amongst
the fern and brushwood, there the smooth earthy
slope that shelved away down to the river below
and browned the whiteness of its foam, there the
lightning-blasted ash tree stretching out its lean and
wrinkled arms ; but the curl of hair and the tar-
tan scarf were gone, both gone. And clinging to a
tuft of gorse close by, fluttered a tiny shred of
black crape, which as Janet watched it was seized
by the wind and borne aloft out of sight.
Chilled by a suspicion no longer vague or
formless, she turned back towards the cottage,
not even pausing as she passed the lonely spot
where Douglas Ramsay's grave was greening in the
122 st. olave's.
sunshine. As she neared the narrow path which
led to the cottage garden, the clamour of voices
smote upon her ear, and she noticed how the long
meadow-grass by the hedge-side was bruised by
the tramping of many feet. She pressed on half
paralyzed with dread. A crowd of people had
gathered round the parlour window, trying to peer
through, the crevices of the closed blinds. More
were clustering round the entrance, some with
vaguely curious, some with awe-struck faces. As
Janet came forwards, they hushed their whisper-
ing and made a way for her to pass. The parlour
door was closed and Mrs. Cromarty stood by it as
if to prevent anyone from entering unawares.
"Tin feared you'll be very much shocked,
Miss Bruce," she began, as Janet came forward.
" I know it all," said Janet, ' l let me go in."
Mrs. Cromarty opened the door and went in
with her, locking it inside to keep out the more
curious of the bystanders who were making their
way into the house.
Once more the mattresses which gave Douglas
Ramsay his death-couch had been brought down,
and upon these lay Mrs. Edenall, dead, quite dead ;
one glance at the ashy stiffening face told that.
st. olave's. 123
There was not awound or a bruise upon herthat they
could see, but the position of the head, violently
twisted back on one side, showed how and where
she had found her death. The right hand was
clenched over the lock of hair and the scarf, so
tightly clenched that no force of theirs could open
it. No cramp of pain distorted her face. Instead,
there was a grand sweet smile of triumph just part-
ing the lips, and smoothing into child-like calm-
ness the low broad forehead. She could not have
suffered much. Even as she grasped those
coveted treasures the death-stroke must have come
and fixed for ever upon her features the smile
which the prize had given.
Mrs. Cromarty stood at the foot of the mattrass,
her bosom heaving with suppressed emotion ;
shadows now of sorrow and now of stern pitiless
indignation, darkening her swarthy face.
"Poor lady," she said, "it's a rough carrying
on she's had this long time past. The Lord send
that she shall have rest and quiet at last, for she
was more sinned against than sinning/''
Janet looked sharply up. Their eyes met, Mrs.
Cromarty's veiled with unshed tears.
" I knew her, ma'am; I wouldn't say it while
124 st. olave's.
she was living, for it's small need there is to cast a
poor body's sins in her face so long as she's a
chance to mend ; but she's gone now, and, ma'am,
if I dont tell yon, there's other folks '11 find it out
afore long. I lived maid with her when she was a
young leddy as bright and stainless as Miss Alice,
and indeed, ma'am, them two mind me of each
Mrs. Cromarty waited for Miss Bruce to notice
this last remark ; she did so.
" Ah ! Alice reminded you of Mrs. Edenall. I
have been struck sometimes by a resemblance. Of
course it is nothing. Alice has never hinted that
Mistress Amiel Grey was even distantly connected
with the family of Mrs. Edenall."
" No, ma'am, she has not. I was telling you I
had lived maid with this lady. Her name was
Brandon, Marian Brandon. Him as lies up yon-
der," and Mrs. Cromarty pointed towards Nor-
lands, "ruined her, and she broke her father's
" You had better not mention this, Mrs. Cro-
marty. It is not suspected in St. Olave's."
" No, ma'am, and if I can help it, it never shall.
I've oft matched Mrs. Edenall and Marian Bran-
don in my own mind, but I never knowed 'em for
the same while that day when I seed her bending
over Mr. Ramsay and pouring out her kisses on
his false face. He was one of the devil's own men,
ma'am, was Douglas Ramsay, for all his face was
fair to look upon."
" Hush, Mrs. Cromarty, we will not speak ill of
the dead. He is gone now, and has carried all his
sins into the presence of One who is sometimes
more merciful than we are."
" You're in the right of it, ma'am, and I hope
the Lord will forgive me if I've been more bitter
on him than I ought to. But it freezes the
charity out of one's soul, ma'am, to see a man
deceive a young innocent girl, and turn her into
a poor lorn creature like this ; here and he walks
God Almighty's earth with never a smirch on his
brow, or a blush on his cheek. Ma'am, I were
sore pressed to feel ought but glad when I was
tending Mr. Ramsay's corpse, and knew him
for the same as had ruined my young mistress."
Just then Colin opened the door and said that
Dr. Greenwood was waiting.
He could do nothing but examine the body,
and pronounce with certainty upon the nature of
126 st. olave's.
the injury. An inquest was held next day, and a
verdict of " accidental death " returned. The
jury were of opinion that Mrs. Edenall had been
walking too near the verge of the landslip, and
losing her balance had fallen over. Also, that in
her terror she had caught at the scarf to save
herself from sliding down, and so loosened it and
the tress of hair from the tree. Appended to this
verdict was a recommendation that the City Com-
missioners should wall up the landslip, and prohibit
the ravine path from public use.
Janet had other thoughts, though she never
mentioned them. She guessed only too surely
how the poor heart-broken creature had wandered
there, and with the desperate daring of madness
scaled the rocks step by step until the coveted
prize was snatched ; then, yielding to the mania
which was at times so strong upon her, she had
suffered herself to slide down the smooth, un-
broken slope to certain death. But the reading
public of St. Olave's endorsed the verdict of the
jury, and nothing further was said.
This accident, following so closely upon the
other, caused great commotion amongst the people,
that is, the middle and lower classes of the com-
munity. But another event, much more note-
worthy than the death of a comparative stranger,
was just now transpiring in the midst of the
goodly fellowship of the Close families, and to this
we must turn.
jINCE Mistress Amiel Grey's death,
everything at the Old Lodge had been
conducted in its usual style. Indeed
she had been so long withdrawn from the super-
intendence of her own household, that her removal
could make but little real difference. Miss
Luckie conducted the establishment with admi-
rable energy and precision, whilst Mrs. Archdeacon
Scrymgeour acted as chaperone in general to
Alice, who was rapidly growing into a very
charming woman, quite equal, Mrs. Scrymgeour
proudly affirmed, to the exalted position she would
so soon be called to assume.
The wedding was drawing very near. Cuth-
bert became daily more assiduous in his atten-
tions. He loaded her with trifling little pre-
sents, offered with such exquisite tact and grace-
fulness, that Alice felt overpowered with grati-
tude j and had her dowry been counted by
millions instead of thousands, it would have
seemed to her innocent heart all too small to
bring in exchange for the unfailing caresses and
honeyed compliments which her betrothed lavished
upon her with such open-handed profusion.
Already coming events cast their shadows
before, in the shape of elaborate pieces of fancy
work, which arrived at the Old Lodge from
such of the Close families as were sufficiently
intimate to offer Wedding presents. The Bishop's
lady had prepared a service of plate as a nuptial
gift, and the costly articles were already repo-
sing in that lady's boudoir, prior to being sent to
the Old Lodge the night before the marriage.
Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour was just completing
a magnificent banner screen of white satin, as her
contribution to Grassthorpe Rectory, but as this
article of furniture will make its appearance before
the reader on a future occasion, it shall not be
minutely described at present. For three \
VOL. III. K
past, the liead milliner's rooms in High Street
had been strewn with white tulle, dress lengths of
silk, bouquets, wreaths, and ribbons; and day
after day added fresh treasures to the store of
exquisitely embroidered linen and silken-fine
damask which was accumulating on Alice's
behalf in the carved oak presses of the Old
All was in readiness now for the arrival of
Captain Clay, who was expected to act as guardian
to the bride-elect. As soon as he came, the
settlements were to be made, and the wedding-day
fixed, and a few other little outstanding matters
Captain Clay had been abroad with his regi-
ment nearly twenty years. During the whole of
that time he had held no communication with
Mistress Amiel Grey, beyond an occasional news-
paper which had passed between them. He had
seen the intelligence of her death in the "Ti?nes,"
and that hastened his journey home. He came
by the overland route, for greater speed, and
embarked at Marseilles in the " Erebus," which
anchored oif Southampton on the twenty-fifth of
July, the day of Mrs. EdenalFs death. He
started at once to St. Olave's, and in the even-
ing of the succeeding day, Lettice ushered into
the oriel room of the Old Lodge a sunburnt
stranger, tall, and of soldier-like aspect.
He presented his card to Miss Luckie, who
generally took the initiative in matters of
hospitality. Her pretty little white satin cap
ribbons fluttered with pleasurable excitement as
she laid down her knitting and rose to receive
" Captain Clay, of the Lancers, lately serving
in India, I presume."
The Captain bowed assent.
"We are most happy to see you. Indepen-
dently of the auspicious event which your arrival
heralds, any connection of Mistress Amiel Grey's
is sure of a hearty welcome to the Old Lodge.
Allow me to introduce you to Miss Alice Grey,
niece of the late Mrs. Grey."
Captain Clay acknowledged the introduction
with a somewhat perplexed expression of counte-
nance, and withheld the cousinly greeting which
Miss Luckie imagined he would have offered to the
blushing girl before him. But then they had
never met before, and he might not be prepared
for such a vision of beauty. Alice had lost but
little of her old shyness in the presence of strangers,
and slipped quietly out of the room as soon as the
formidable introduction was fairly over.
" Did I understand you rightly, that the young
lady who has left the room is the niece of Mrs.
Amiel Grey V said the Captain, seating himself
on one of the softly- cushioned lounges.
" Perfectly so," replied Miss Luckie. " You
have been absent many years and are not aware,
I suppose, that from infancy Miss Alice has been
brought up by her aunt, to whom she was most
devotedly attached. Indeed, she was Mrs. Grey's
only comfort during the later years of her life."
" It is twenty years since I set foot in England,
and I imagine many changes must have taken
place in the interval. Am I correct in supposing
that this is the Old Lodge, formerly used as a re-
sidence by the Canons of St. Olave's Cathedral,
and that the lady recently deceased is the widow
of the late Dean Grey ?"
" Certainly, sir ; you are quite correct in all the
particulars you have named," said Miss Luckie,
who began to think that the visitor had left his
intellects in the Punjaub, and was not likely to
st. olave's. 133
prove much of an acquisition to poor Alice. He
was so exceedingly cold and unsympathetic in his
"Then, madam/' he continued stiffly, "there
must be a mistake somewhere. My cousin, Mrs.
Amiel Grey, was the only child of Sir Ralph
Grisby, of Runnington, in Kent, and the late Dean
Grey, her husband, was also an only child. I am
perplexed, therefore, as to the relationship assumed
by the young lady to whom you have done me the
honour of introducing me."
So was Miss Luckie, now. It was an awkward
circumstance, a very awkward circumstance. Still
she had no doubt it would be properly cleared up.
Alice's relationship to Mrs. Grey was an un-
doubted fact ; of that there could be no question.
Had it not been patent to the world for the last
eighteen years, during which time not a whisper
had been breathed to the contrary ? But whilst
she was turning the affair over in her own mind,
the Captain continued —
" In fact, madam — excuse me, but I have not
the pleasure of knowing your name."
"I am Miss Luckie, only surviving daughter
of the late Major Luckie of the Forty-seventh."
Captain Clay bowed with military precision.
' ' In fact, Miss Luckie, when I read the account
of my cousin's death in the ' Times/ I hastened my
journey from India, in order that before any diffi-
culties should have arisen, I might lay before the
legal advisers of Mrs. Grey, my claims as heir-at-
law. I have brought certain documents with me,"
here Captain Clay produced from the breast of
his coat a packet of suspicious-looking blue papers,
" and my solicitor in town holds himself in readi-
ness to support my claims should any dispute arise.
Such dispute, however, is not likely to take place,
since I believe I am correct in representing my-
self as the sole surviving relative of Mistress Amiel
Miss Luckie twitched nervously at her knitting-
needles. The affair was growing serious. Still
the worst result that suggested itself to her ima-
gination, was, that this unwelcome interloper might
secure to himself a small portion of the estate.
The bare idea of his claiming the whole of it was
too enormous to be entertained for a moment.
At last, she thought it would be better to turn the
stranger over to Cuthbert Scrymgeour's manage-
ment. He would hold his own at any rate, no
fear of tliat. So, after a little consideration, dur-
ing which Captain Clay had been criticizing the
fine oak furniture and choice paintings of the
oriel room, she began again —
cc I am not in a position to enter upon this sub-
ject with you, at present, having only lately be-
come a resident in the family. Since the stroke
which preceded Mrs. Grey's death, and which
entirely precluded her from the active manage-
ment of her own affairs, I have resided with Miss
Alice as companion and protector. Of all private
family affairs connected with the Old Lodge, I am
quite ignorant. Perhaps you are not aware that
Miss Alice contemplates marriage ?"
Captain Clay was not, and signified the same.
" She has been engaged for some months to a
clergyman in this neighbourhood. Indeed, the
ceremony has only been delayed until such time
as you could arrive and agree upon the settlements
to be made/''
" I am happy to congratulate Miss Alice upon
her prospects," replied the Captain. " My claims as
Mrs. Grey's heir-at-law may possibly interfere with
the proposed settlements, but I trust they will in no
other way affect the young lady's happiness."
136 st. olave's.
Miss Luckie was not quite so sure of that, but
she preferred not venturing upon the subject, and
recommended an interview with Mr. Scrymgeour,
who was expected from Grassthorpe that evening.
lt In the meantime, Captain Clay, I trust you
will remain with us for the night."
He smiled inwardly at the notion of being in-
vited to take a bed in his own house, but accepted
the offer as it was made, in perfect politeness. And
so the ominous tete-a-tete terminated.
Meanwhile Alice had strolled into the drawing-
room, her little heart all in a flutter at the sudden
arrival of Captain Clay, and the important event
of which that arrival was the harbinger. The
ormolu clock on the marble bracket was just upon
the stroke of seven. Cuthbert could not possibly
arrive before eight, and the time until he came
appeared so long. She sat down at the window
that looked into the Close, and amused herself for
some time by watching the groups of smartly-
dressed tradesmen's wives that were sauntering
about after their day's work was over. By-and-by
the bells began to ring, jangling out with confused
resonant clang from the old grey belfry tower. It
was the weekly practising night. The sound of
them turned her thoughts back to that evening,
now nearly five months ago, when she and David
Bruce had watched Aunt Amiel die. Then, farther
and farther back they drifted to that other evening,
when Janet had come to tea and they had be-
guiled the time by turning over the contents of
the old cabinet that stood in the deep recess be-
tween the windows.
It stood there yet, just in the same place.
Things were rarely shifted out of their places at
the Old Lodge.
To wile away a little more of the time until
Cuthbert came, she bethought herself of turning
it out again. She went upstairs to get the key
from the jewel case, and then drawing the quaint
old-fashioned piece of furniture in front of the
sofa, she opened it. Just within the lid lay the
manuscript which Aunt Amiel had placed there
the day of her illness. It bore the superscrip-
tion : —
" To my foster child, Alice. To be read after my death."
That brought the quick tears to Alice's eyes ;
and for awhile she buried her face in her hands
whilst a rush of tender memories swept over her.
But she soon recovered herself, and breaking the
138 st. olave's.
many seals which secured the outer cover, she
began to read. As she opened the packet, a little
old yellow note fell out ; this she put back again
into the cabinet, thinking it had got in by mistake.
She read it slowly, pausing often with the
perplexed look of one who is working out some
difficult problem. But, however perplexed she
might be, no shade of sadness came over her fair
young face. Not a thought crossed her mind
that anything written there could shake his truth,
or dim his love for her. She had never learned
yet to doubt the faith of any human being.
She was yet reading, when the door opened, and
Cuthbert Scrymgeour stole quietly in. His foot-
fall was very gentle, and she did not hear him
until he came behind her and laid his hand
upon her shoulder. Then she turned quickly
round. He pressed a kiss, another and yet another,
upon the flushed face upturned in glad surprise to
" Sit by me, will you," she said, nestling up to
him in her pretty caressing way ; and she made
room for him on the sofa.
He passed his fingers — those beautiful white
fingers — lightly over her forehead.
st. olave's. 139
u What is my little pet knitting her brow over?
Is she beginning to study mathematics or the
square root, or is it a new crochet pattern, a
cover for my study chair at Grassthorpe,
Oh, how musical that voice was ; how far above
singing its dainty love-modulated tones ! Alice
blushed to the tips of her little fingers.
" No, Cuthbert, it's a letter from Aunt Amiel
that I've just found in this old cabinet, and I can't
make it out ; it seems so strange/'
« Does it ? Well, I'll try if I can help you to
make sense of it. Alice, there's a portmanteau
in the hall ; who does it belong to ?"
" Captain Clay," Alice faltered out. " He has
Cuthbert bent his head over her. Their eyes
met, and once more the rosy flood mounted to
cheek and brow. She was going to start away
from him, but he put his arm round her and kept
" No, little lady -bird, I shall not let you fly away
just yet. Fold up those pretty wings now, and
let us see what we can bring out of this ugly old
140 st. olave's.
He made her sit down again beside him, his
arm still round her; and they began to read
the letter. Perhaps we had better do so too.
j Y dear Alices— The time has now-
come when it is needful for you to
be put in possession of certain facts
which have hitherto been carefully concealed from
" Whilst you were a child, it was useless to
give you information which could then have no
meaning for you. But now that womanhood is
bringing with it graver responsibilities, and you
may soon become a wife— * — ■■"
Alice glanced shyly up to Cuthbert, and nestled
her little hand into his. He held it in a clasp —
well, somewhat slighter than might have been
given five minutes ago, and a thought crossed his
mind that it would have been much better if Mis-
tress Amiel Grey had made her will before that
unlucky stroke came. But the Scrymgeours were
always remarkable for caution. They went on read-
"It is my duty to tell you somewhat of your
previous history and parentage. You may have
heard me say that the late Dean Grey had con-
nections in Scotland. A few years after our
marriage, which is now more than fifty years ago,
I accompanied him on a visit to his friends, and
remained some months in the neighbourhood of
Perth. Part of the time was spent with the
Ramsays, of Glen Ramsay, between whom and
my late husband a strong attachment existed.
Their eldest son, then a little fellow of five years
old, was a great favourite of mine. He was a beau-
tiful little boy with sparkling blue eyes, and the
peculiar golden hair which is rarely found except
in Scotland. But he was very much spoilt, and
I discerned in him, even then, seeds of passions
which might afterwards ripen into very bitter
results, not only for himself, but those in any way
connected with him. And so it afterwards proved. "
" Stay Alice, you are pressing on my arm."
She leaned forward for a moment, and Cuthbert
took his arm away. He did not give her the sup-
port of it any more that night. But her hand was
in his still.
' ' I lost sight of him for many years, and when
next I heard of him he had formed an engagement
with a most estimable young lady, whose name I
forget. I remember, however, that she resided
near Perth. I believe also that she belonged to
a good but not very wealthy family.
" Some years after — it is about eighteen years ago
now — I was staying in my native county, Kent,
at Brandon Hall. At that time Colonel and Mrs.
Brandon were in deep affliction. Their only child,
a lovely and most elegant girl, had just been in-
veigled into a clandestine flight with a stranger
to whom Colonel Brandon had shown hospitality.
She had then been absent from them nearly six
months, during which time they had heard no
tidings of her. I found to my inexpressible grief
and indignation that the wretch for whom she had
thus quitted the shelter of her parents' roof was
this Douglas Ramsay, my former little child friend.
I was the more grieved for the great sorrow which
I knew his conduct must have caused to the young
lady in Scotland, with whose affections he had so
u Mrs. Brandon was in very delicate health at the
time I visited them. The conduct of her child
had greatly distressed her, and shortly after I left
she died. Colonel Brandon never recovered her loss.
They were most devotedly attached, and this was
the first blight that had fallen upon their domestic
happiness. I never saw Marian Brandon^ but I
have heard that she was a splendid girl, tall, dis-
tinguished, most regal in her bearing, but of an
imperious disposition and passionate to a fault.
Not many weeks after my return to the Old Lodge,
she came home, deserted by the man for whom
she had given Up name and fame and all that a
woman holds dear. Mr. Ramsay deceived her by
a mock mariage. At least I believe the marriage
Was legal, but he purposely destroyed the lines,
and so rendered it impossible for her to prove her-
self his wife, there being no witnesses of the
ceremony except the party who performed it, and
he is long since dead.
" Marian Brandon found her father at the point
of death. She returned home in time to close his
eyes, but not to receive his forgiveness ; for the
Colonel, though kind, was a stern man and firm to
obstinacy in his prejudices* After his death, she
st. olave's. 145
gave birth to a child. Then, worn out with the
grief and anxiety through which she had passed,
her mind gave way, and for some months she was
under restraint. On her recovery, feeling that
she had too far disgraced herself ever to return to
the society in which she had once moved, and being
utterly disowned by her relatives, she left the
neighbourhood and has never been heard of since.
I imagine she is dead, or possibly living a life of
" My heart was touched for the child thus left
friendless and dependent, and having no family of
my own, I offered to adopt it, on condition that it
should be given into my sole charge, and that its
parents should at no future time claim any control
over it. These conditions were complied with,
and a little more than seventeen years ago, the
helpless infant came under my roof.
" Alice, you are that child. Since then, I have
cared for and tended you as my own. I have en-
deavoured to give you all the advantages of my own
position, and to remove as far as possible the stain
which was fixed upon your birth. From the first,
it was understood in St. Olave's, and I have suffered
the impression to exist, that you were a niece of
VOL. III. • L
146 st. olave's.
mine, left orphaned and unprotected. Hitherto it
has been of no moment that this idea should be
removed. It is now due, however, to the indivi-
dual who may afterwards become your husband,
that the circumstances of your parentage should
"I have just had an interview with Mr. Cuthbert
Scrymgeour, in which he seeks you as his wife.
" I was not prepared to lose you so soon after
your entrance into society. I have no right, how-
ever, to retain you longer with me, nor would my
affection permit me for one moment to prevent you
from forming a connection which is likely to ad-
vance your real happiness. Mr. Scrymgeour's
proposal has taken me by surprise. I cannot at
once decide on the best course to pursue. He will
come to me again to-morrow to receive my final
answer. Then I shall explain to him the circum-
stances which I have now detailed to you. Should
they influence him against the marriage, I have no
doubt that as a man of honour he will hold them
strictly private. Should he, as I believe he will,
prize his love more dearly than any scruples of
rank or position, you will learn the particulars
of your history from his own lips at some future
st. olave's. 147
" Knowing, however, how uncertain life is, and
feeling the infirmities of age stealing rapidly upon
me, I have judged it well to write this explanation.
I shall also send for my solicitor again tomorrow,
— I summoned him last week, but he was from
home— to make arrangements as regards my pro-
perty, of which I intend to leave you sole heiress.
The circumstances of your birth render you void
in law, and, therefore, without this precaution
you might be left at my decease entirely unpro-
" And this will hasn't turned up, Alice."
1 1 No, Cuthbert," said Alice, in her unsuspecting
innocence. "You know poor Aunt Amiel was
taken with the stroke the very day she wrote this,
and she was never able to attend to anything
' f Confound it ! so she was. What a fool I
have been ! Well, go on, Alice."
Alice looked quietly up into his face.
" You are not angry with me,' are you, Cuth-
bert ? Have I said anything wrong ? "
"No, no, child ; just go on as I tell you. It's
desperately hot in this room ; I declare I'm half
smothered : don't sit quite so close to me."
He edged himself away from her, and dropped
the hand which until then he had held in his.
" Let us get the thing finished/'' he said, im-
"By placing my property in your hands, I
shall do no wrong to any of my own family.
I have outlived all my relatives save one, my
cousin, Captain Clav. We never held much in-
tercourse with each other, and, for the last
twenty years, he has been serving with his regi-
ment in India. He is, besides, a man of
considerable private fortune, and therefore not
dependent on anything he might receive from
' c When you were sent to me, seventeen years
ago, there came, with the rest of your clothing,
a Venetian head ornament, a cordon of pearls,
brought from Italy by one of the Brandon family,
who was formerly Consul at Venice. You wore
it at Chapter Court last night. It is the only
memento you possess of your mother, and I
should like you to take care of it. She erred
very deeply, but she is your mother still.
" I do not know that I need add anything
further to this letter. I may have been mistaken
st olave's. 149
in keeping you and my St. Olave's friends so long
ignorant of the circumstances it discloses. How-
ever that may be, it is too late to remedy the
evil, except as I have now done. May God bless
you, Alice ! You have always been tender and
true to me. Great has been my delight in you.
Should Cuthbert Scrymgeour become your hus-
band, I trust he will find the wife bear out the
character of the child. Should the facts I shall
relate to him in the morning influence him to
withdraw from his proposal, I shall still rejoice
that Providence spares you to me a little longer.
" Your affectionate foster-mother,
" Amiel Grey."
k HAT does it mean, Cuthbert ? " said
j Alice, when the letter was finished,
a " I don't seem to understand it
" It means this, Alice, that you are no niece of
Mistress Amiel Grey's, but an illegitimate cliild
of a woman named Marian Brandon; and that,
in consequence of your aunt having died intes-
« Died in what, Cuthbert ? »
" Died without a will ; the whole of the pro-
perty goes to the heir-at-law, this Captain Clay,
who, it seems, has come to put in his claim to it."
" You are not going, Cuthbert, are you? " said
ST. olave's. 151
Alice, as lie threw the paper on the table and
began to pace the room impatiently. Her face
was full of bewilderment, but there was no fear
" Going ! why, I suppose I can't do anything
else much. I don't exactly see how I can stop
here philandering, when that fellow Clay is walk-
ing off with the house and all it contains."
"But, Cuthbert, he is not going to walk off
" You're a little goose, Alice," said the B.A.,
coming up to her in spite of himself, and pressing
a hasty kiss on her cheek. " But I must be off,
and see what the man's after."
" Come back to me soon, then j don't be long,
Cuthbert ; it is so dull without you."
Alice could not catch his answer, as he strode
hastily out of the room. But she was content.
He was not vexed with her ; he had called her a
little goose, and she was quite sure he would not
have done that if he had been angry. So she
sat down on the sofa again, and waited patiently
until such time as it should please her lord and
master elect to return.
" A pretty mess ! " said Cuthbert Scrymgcour
to himself, as lie crossed the hall to the oriel
room. " What a lucky chance it is the affair
didn't happen a month later ! I suppose I
couldn't have backed out of it then, and it won't
be the pleasantest thing in the world having it to
He knocked at the door ; there was no answer.
Then he went in ; the room was empty. Miss
Luckie had gone out to give orders about supper
and sleeping accommodation, and, as he strolled
through the room to the half-open glass door,
Cuthbert saw Captain Clay sauntering up and
down the garden, smoking a cigar with the easy,
self-possessed air of a man who knows the world
is going the right way for him.
" Insufferable fellow ! " muttered the amiable
divine ; and then, instead of going back to Alice,
he took up his hat and set off to Chapter Court,
for the purpose of consulting his aunt on the
awkward aspect of affairs.
Cuthbert Scrymgeour's affections were made to
match his mind — of the delicate spring annual
kind, planted or pulled up at a moment's notice.
Perhaps, also, the frequent falling of their leaves
enriched the ground after a fashion, and prepared
it for a fresh crop. The halo of fascination which
had shrined Alice Grey, cleared off in a twinkling;
she was a very ordinary mortal now. And then
he began to condole with himself. He had been
grossly deceived, no one conld deny that; made
the dupe of a pretty face and false expectations,
very nearly inveigled into uniting himself — his
splendid person, his unblemished pedigree, his
social status, his melodious voice — with a penni-
less dependant, a girl who had not even a name
to call her own. How providential that the
eclair cis sement happened just when it did ! that
the Scrymgeour family had escaped such a bar-
sinister on its quartering. Mr. Scrymgeour was
lost in thanksgiving.
He was awakened from this mental reverie of
praise by stumbling suddenly upon the iron palisad-
ings of Chapter Court. He opened the heavy
oaken door with his latch key/ and went into the
dining-room. No one was there, so he rang the
bell, and desired the waiting-maid to inform her
mistress of his presence. As he paced the long
stately room in silence and alone, the thought of
Blanche Egerton floated through his mind.
Blanche, with her millionaire grandsire, her
154- st. olave's.
dreamy eyes, her bland, delicious dignity, her
centuries of Norman blood, her well attested
baptismal register and armorial bearings. Cuth-
bert' s mind was made up.
The Archdeacon's widow counselled pru-
" Prudence, my dear Cuthbert, prudence. Do
nothing rashly. Beware of committing yourself
before the claims of this Captain Clay are
recognized by law. At all events a legal consul-
tation must be held before any steps can be taken
towards dispossessing Alice of her property. If
it is satisfactorily ascertained that such a stain as
you have mentioned rests upon her parentage,
withdraw from the connection. I give you my
fullest sanction to such a step. I waive pecuniary
considerations, Cuthbert ; my mind rises superior
to them, but the Scrymgeour name shall never be
tarnished by contact with ignoble blood."
And then the Archdeacon's widow, who disap-
proved of excitability, smoothed down the folds of
her moire antique, and leaned back in her velvet
cushioned chair, the incarnation of ecclesiastical
Captain Clay was prepared for opposition. He
ST. olave's. 155
despatched a telegraphic message to town, and by-
ten o'clock next morning his legal adviser arrived
at the Old Lodge, bringing the necessary docu-
ments. Mrs. Grey's man of business was also
summoned. A lengthy consultation took place
between them in the presence of Miss Luckie and
Cuthbert Scrymgeour. The claims of Captain
Clay were proved to be correct. He was indeed
the heir-at-law, and, as such, entitled to the sole
possession of the Old Lodge, the estate at Nor-
lands, with the property in High Street, held by
leasehold from the Dean and Chapter. The close
of the all-important conference left Alice a beggar,
absolutely penniless, and dependent for bread
and lodging on a man upon whom she had not
the slightest claim.
When all was over, Cuthbert, without waiting
for an interview with his betrothed, went off to
communicate the result to Mrs. Scrymgeour, at
Chapter Court. Miss Luckie undertook to inform
Alice of her altered position.
And indeed the kind-hearted little maiden-lady
herself shared in the general wreck, for she had
relinquished her claim upon the apartments in
the Low Gardens, together with the little annuity
156 st. olave's.
pertaining thereto ; and her sole subsistence now
was derived from her stipend as manager- general
at the Old Lodge. So that her future was almost
as dark as Alice's, except that she had influential
friends in the city, who would exert themselves to
place her in a position of comfort equal to that
which she had given up to attend upon Mrs.
As for Alice, she scarcely seemed as yet to
realize her situation. She had not seen Cuthbert
since the previous evening, when he had quitted
her so abruptly. She had a vague notion of
some money loss connected with the sudden
appearance of Captain Clay, but that this loss,
even if it did come to pass, could in any way
affect Cuthbert's feelings towards her, was a
result which she never for one moment suspected.
Had Mr. Scrymgeour been dislodged from his
preferment at a moment's notice, Alice would
have loved him all the same. It would not have
entered her mind that in doing this she was acting
the heroine, or displaying any extraordinary
amount of affection. And so, in the calm con-
sciousness of a faithful heart, she waited patiently
for him to come and tell her that all w T as well.
ST. OLAVE S. 157
A little goose, was she not ? — just as Cuthbert
had said, when he gave her that farewell kiss last
night. But remember, she was not yet nineteen,
and had lived all her life with a guileless, un-
suspecting old lady, who had tried very hard to
teach her the golden rule of doing as she would be
done by. And succeeded too ; nay, more than
this, the little goose — I am afraid, as the world
goes now, we cannot call her anything but a
goose — had got the notion that every one else
acted on the same principle, and would mete
into her bosom the same overflowing measure
which she was so ready to give. Poor little
The oriel room had been monopolized all day
for the legal consultation, so after luncheon she
stole away to her own little sanctum, the cozy
study on the west side of the hall, where that
first memorable interview with Cuthbert Scrym-
geour had been held.
Thither in due time Miss Luckie came,
bearing tidings of the poverty that had overtaken
" My dear child," said the compassionate little
lady, u all is lost. The house, furniture, property,
158 st. olave's.
everything belongs to Captain Clay. He is proved
to be the heir-at-law, and we cannot hinder him
from taking possession at once."
She expected Alice would have screamed, or
burst into tears, or gone into a fainting fit. In-
deed, by way of being prepared for the last emer-
gency, she had put a fresh supply of pungent salts
into her smelling-bottle before she came into the
room. But to her surprise, the young girl was
quite calm. She simply appeared to be in a maze
" Then it isn't true, Miss Luckie ; I am not
Aunt Amiel's niece, and I don't belong to her at
" Not at all, my dear."
" Then do tell me how it is, for I can't under-
' ( The fact is simply this, Alice. You are the
daughter of a lady — at least, I mean a person who
was betrayed into an elopement with a wicked and
abandoned man. Mrs. Grey took you when you
were quite a little baby, and has brought you up
ever since. The people about here always thought
that you were her niece, and there seemed no need
to correct the report, ^especially as the real facts
were so very unpleasant."
st. olave's. 159
" And the person, my mamma. Miss Luckie ?"
" No one knows anything about her, Alice ; she
disgraced herself beyond recovery."
" But she is my mamma still. It doesn't make
any difference about her not being good. If I
could find her, I should like to be kind to her.
Wouldn't it be right?"
" My dear, I don't venture an opinion. I
wouldn't for the world say anything that is not
scriptural ; but at any rate she has never acted as a
parent to you, and all your obligations are centred
upon Mrs. Grey."
' ' Yes ; dear Aunt Amiel ! But I suppose I must
not call her Aunt Amiel now. How strange it
seems ! And so the Old Lodge doesn't belong to
me, and I have nothing to live upon, nothing at
all. But you, Miss Luckie, what will you do ?
Oh ! I am so sorry ! You gave up your pleasant
home to be kind to me, and now we have both of
us lost everything." And at the thought of Miss
Luckie' s destitution, Alice, for the first time, began
to look seriously troubled.
"Don't distress yourself about me, darling,"
said Miss Luckie, drawing Alice nearer to her, " I
have a great many influential friends in the army,
160 st. olave's.
and I have no doubt they will do their best to
get me back my settlement at the Low Gar-
" Or, you know/' and Alice's face brightened,
" you could come and live with us at Grassthorpe.
Cuthbert cares for me still, and it won't make a
bit of difference to him, my losing the money. You
know I should love him just the same if he hadn't
anything at all."
Miss Luckie could not help kissing the rosy lips
which were wreathed into a smile so faithful and
loving; but she was not sure, after all, that the rule
would work both ways. Just then, Lettice
brought in a somewhat bulky looking letter.
" Please, ma'am, this has come for Miss Grey."
Alice's eyes glistened as she recognized the
" Ah, it is from Cuthbert ! How kind of him
to write so soon! He thought I should be troubled,
and so he wants to comfort me, but I wish he
had come instead ; it is so pleasant to see him."
She opened the cover. Miss Luckie caught
sight of two or three dainty little pink edged en-
velopes within, and divining too truly what they
meant, slipped quietly out of the room that Alice
might be alone.
st. olave's. 161
They were the child's own letters and the bands
she had worked for him, sent back with a polite
note by Cnthbert Scrymgeour.
E 350319 1 HILST the oriel room was the scene of
InKiMvl! srrave consultation between the law-
^,C,'uJ yers, a second colloquy, quite as ani-
mated, if not so portentous, had been going on in
the culinary regions. Colin, in his striped waist-
coat and shiny buttons, was seated on the table,
alternately haranguing the assembled maids, and ex-
cavating the tasty recesses of a plum-pie set before
him by Symons, the cook, in return for the sti 11
more tasty intelligence which he had rushed from
Norlands to communicate. Mrs. Marris was
there too, in her black silk bonnet and octogenarian
shawl. She often stepped down in an afternoon,
after returning from the Minster prayers, to have
st. olave's. 163
a " crack," as she termed it, with the servants, or
pick up stray bits of gossip which found their way
into the culinary department.
A pleasant, roomy old spot was the front kitchen
at the Lodge. A huge open fire-place stretched
across one end, with a seat in the chimney corner,
the cosiest place in the whole house on winter
nights. There was no fire now though, and in its
place an earthenware jar of asparagus leaves, mint,
sweet-peas, and snap-dragons, filled the wide grate.
The low roof was panelled with oak, dark and cool
in summer time, but rare for flashing back Decem-
ber firelight from its deep groovings. A lattice
window, almost every pane written over with
names or devices, looked out into the back garden,
and past that to the Monastery ruins and the river
Luthen. A few scraps of fanciful carving still
lingered here and there round the wainscotting
and doorposts ; old coats of arms, mottoes, groups
of flowers, or queer grotesque faces, half-brute,
half-human, such as one sees beneath cathedral
gurgoyles. In the open doorway, nicely placed to
catch the sunlight that crept through flickering
elm tree leaves, lay a sedate, matronly tortoise-
shell cat, winking peacefully at the gambols of her
kittens on the little bit of grass plot before the door.
It was late in the afternoon. The work — what
little there was of it, for they kept no company at
the Old Lodge — had been finished an hour ago,
and since then, the maids in their neat gowns of
lilac print, and white linen aprons, had been chat-
ting over their sewing. Colin was telling them
about Mrs. Edenall ; it was only the day after her
death. With a few vigorous strokes he had dashed
off the leading features of the catastrophe, and
was now filling in the particulars with a few
additions from imagination.
"Did you see her, Colin? was she smashed
awful ?" said the kitchen-maid, who had a taste
' ' Not a bit. She just lay white and still, as if
she'd been cut out o' marble, nobbut her head
hung queer like, and she'd got them things in her
hand as tight as tight. I seed Miss Bruce a try-
ing to pull 'em out, but it warn't no yield."
* What things, Colin?"
" Why, yon screed of hair and the scarf t'other
poor gentleman left hanging upo' the ash tree
branch ; them as the barrack officers tried to fire
at and couldn't hit 'em."
st. olave's. 165
" Poor thing l" and Symons wiped her eyes with
her white apron. " I lay it gave her a sickening
feel to see ; em hanging out there, and so she
thought she'd climb down and fetch 'em off; my,
she didn't know what the Norlands landslip was
though, or she wouldn't ha' tried ! I reckon it
would ha' gived me a turn to see 'em myself. I
pities folks as has tender feelins."
" I lay Miss Bruce will be glad to be clean shut
on her, though," said the kitchen-maid, " I've
heerd tell she has been awful flighty of late;
hasn't she, Colin ?"
i( I don't go to say what she used to be, but
she's just as gentle as a lamb since she came to
Norlands. She was allers giving of me sixpences
and shillings to keep yon poor gentleman's grave
tidy ; it cut her up his gettin' killed, it did ; but I
never seed as Miss Bruce made much count on it.
She used to be a deal tenderer though to Mrs.
Edenall sin' it happened."
" She's good to everybody, is Miss Bruce ;
but law, Colin, she must be awful skeered
"She is that. I clean pities for her, I does.
If she was to lay her down side by side wi'
Mrs. Edenall, you couldn't tell which was which,
she looks so white and cold like."
There was a pause ; the maids went on with
their sewing, and Colin helped himself to a fresh
wedge of pie. By-and-by he said demurely —
" Her name ain't Mrs. Edenall. It never were."
"Bless us!" said the women in a breath,
" what did they call her then ? Did you ever ?
Colin winked mischievously. "Now, the curiosity
of female people," was all the reply he vouch-
safed to this unanimous request.
" Take that for your imperence, sir " and the
cook darted forward and gave him a ringing box
on the ear. Colin, in nowise daunted, returned
it by another which tore off half her cap border.
" Never heed, Mrs. Symons," said Lettice,
"you'll get a new one at the wedding. I lay
we'll all be smart enough then. Are you looking
to get aught, Mrs. Marris ?"
"Why, I don't misdoubt but Miss Alice '11
behave handsome to the alms-people, happen a
gownpiece or summut to make a cloak on. Marry,
she's the money, and she don't care to spare it,
bless her ! When is it to be ?"
st. olave's. 167
" Miss Luckie telled me they was nobbut wait-
ing for this here gentleman as corned yesterday,
so I reckon we shall soon get agate. Mrs. Cro-
marty's had the muslin curtains done up this good
bit past, and the best linen bleached, what Mrs.
Amiel kept i' the great oak chest."
" I don't much matter yon gentleman. Captain
what do they call him. He goes about with over
much of a swing/' continued Lettice. " He
couldn't stick himself up more if all t' place was
his own. He sent for me in a bit since to take
'em some wine yonder into t' room, an' ordered
t' best sort. He's no gentleman, he isn't, to help
hisself to other folk's things that way."
" What were they doing of, Lettice ?" said Mrs.
Symons, " they've been agate ever since noon, and
they're at it yet ; is it settlements or summut ?"
" It's summut Mr. Scrymgeour don't like, I'll
warrant ; he looked reg'lar savage. I always said
he were a viewly young man, but my, I wouldn't
care to sit nigh hand him if that's the way he's
going to look when he gets bonnie Miss Alice."
" Maybe they're tying him over fast, so as he
can't lay his hands on the money. I kind o'
misdoubted Mr. Cuthbert had an eye to Miss
168 st. olave's.
Alice's fortune. She's a awful screw is the Arch-
deacon's widely, and she's put him up to that
wedding as sure as I'm a living woman."
" I believe you're right/' said Mrs. Marris. " I
think if I was a man I should sort o' shame to let
a woman put the meat into my pie, that way j but
some folks thinks one way and some thinks
another, and them as hasn't money does well to
creep up other folks sleeves as has. And so you
say the weddin's nigh hand, Lettice."
"You'd say same yourself, Mrs. Marris, if
you seed what a sight o' frilled linen and worked
petticoats and things Miss Alice has got ready.
A poor widdy woman as lives in the back College
yard made 'em all. I telled Miss Alice — you see
she sets great store by me, cause I've waited of
her so long — I telled her there was a grand shop
in the High Street kept them sort o' things, and
had the beautifullest patterns. My sister as
lives maid with the Bishop's lady, said Miss
Standish got all hers there when she were married ;
but nothing would serve Miss Alice but letting the
widdy make 'em, cause she had seen better days,
and was hard set to get victuals."
" That's just marry to everything else that Miss
st. olave's. 169
Alice does, bless her ! And do you know what
she's goin' to be in V'
" Of course I do. Miss Alice talks to me like
anything about her wedding ; she says to me ;
Lettice, we must do this, and we must do that,
before I get married, and she smiles and looks so
bonnie while I wish I had a follower too. But St.
Olave's isn't much of a place for followers ; it's over
scarce of men. She's to be in white silk, with
puffings of tulle and little sprigs of green leaves
laid in betwixt 'em, sprinkled over with summut
as looks like dewdrops. And she's to have her
hair in ringlets, with a wreath of green leaves, and
a tulle veil ; not lace, you know, that's over
common for quality since Miss Baker at the cheese
shop was married in a Brussels lace square, but
beautiful clear white silk net, gathered round her
head and floating about like a cloud. And then
the bridesmaids is to be in white muslin wi' little
" They'll look just like heavenly angels then,"
said the kitchen-maid, who had listened with open
mouth to Lettice's voluminous description.
" Mrs. Amiel Grey once gived me a ticket to see a
picture of the New Jerusalem comin' down from
170 ST. olave's.
heaven, which was bein' showed here, and she was
in white muslin, with purple spots; leastways,
that was what it looked like. But I ax yer
pardon, Mrs. Symons, you was a-goin' to say
" I were only wanting Colin to tell us what they
called that there lady up at Norlands, if her name
isn't Mrs. Edenall."
But Colin chose to stand upon his dignity.
" I don't go to gratify female folk's curiosity as
skelps me on my ears/'
" Whisht, whisht, lad, it ain't no yield for
youngsters like you to quarrel with their bread an'
cheese ;" Mrs. Symons's hand was upon the plum
pie, a moment more and it would have disappeared
from his longing eyes into the shadowy recesses of
the larder. Colin wisely resolved to put his dignity
into his pocket.
u Hold hard, missis, just hand that pie back
again and I'll tell ye all I know."
Mrs. Symons replaced the pie with a triumphant
smile, and Colin opened his budget.
" I heered it onawares when I went to tell 'em
Dr. Greenwood was come. Miss Bruce telled
Mrs. Cromarty she wasn't to let on about it, 'cause
st. olave's. 171
nobody in St. Olave's knew, but if folk's real
names isn't to be spoke, I don't see what is.
Miss Bruce was a bendin' over her, over Mrs.
Edenall I mean, it were just after she'd gotten
killed, and Mrs. Cromarty was standin' stiff
upright like a statty, nigh hand her, and she said,
did Mrs. Cromarty, as how she'd seed her afore ;
she'd lived maid with her when she were a young
leddy, and her name wasn't Mrs. Edenall at all,
but Marian Brandon."
" Marian what ?" said Mrs. Marris.
"Marian Brandon, granny, what's got yer ears?"
Mrs. Marris was too much absorbed in her own
reflections to resent this juvenile impertinence.
" Marian Brandon ?" she exclaimed, bringing
down her hand upon her knee with a resonant
thump, which startled puss and made her spring
right into the middle of the grass plot, much to
the astonishment of the kittens, who were disport-
ing thereon. " Marian Brandon, yes, that was the
name. I mind it now as clear as owt. Mrs.
Cromarty was tellin' me about it a good bit past, but
I just let it slip out o' my intellects 'cause it warn't
a name as I'd heered afore. A rare beautiful
young lady Mrs. Cromarty said she was, wi' curlin'
172 st. olave's.
hair and a glint in her een just for all the world
like Miss Alice ; and she came to shame wi'
nought but her fair looks. Beauty an' misery,
beauty an' misery, that's the way in this here
world. I won't go to say it certain, but it lies
strong upo' my mind as a baby corned after-
Mrs. Symons put on a look of virtuous asperity,
and told Colin to go and finish his pie in the back
" No wonder, indeed," she said, ' ' that Miss
Bruce didn't wish the facts to expire in St. Olave's,
but for my part I think folks as disgraces them-
selves that way ought to be publicly transposed,
for a warning to their sex. Babies is plentiful
enough in the world without more comin' as hasn't
a name to their backs, and nothin' but shame to
get a livin' with."
" Ay, marry, but to think of Mrs. Edenall, with
her proud, stiff ways, belonging to that sort ! I
mind once, it's nigh half a year ago now, she came
to my place in such a flusterment — you know I
used to get her things up for her — about a
handkerchief as had got sent in a mistake. Laws,
I never seed anybody so flustered i' my life. ( Mrs.
st. olave's. 173
Marris, says she — she spoke dainty and soft-like,
but her face was as white as a chorister's surplice
— ' I believe you've got a handkerchief that has
been put in unawares with my clothes/ Well,
ma'am, I said, I an't looked in among 'em yet,
but they're all there, and I pointed to a basket
nigh hand the copper, you can see for yourself.
Well, Mrs. Symons, she flew to that basket like
mad, and mercy on us if you'd seen how she
tewed among t' things, clawing 'em over wi' such
a vengeance. At last she gived a sort o' little
squeak, and then hushed it up sharp, and turned to
me just as cold and stiff-like as ever. ' Mrs.
Marris,' says she, ' I've found it, thank you/ and I
just seed it in her hand afore she got it crammed
into her pocket. It was rare and viewly,
the beautifullest thing ever I seed, all broidered
round, and a grand fandanglement in the
corner, with a name, Marian Brandon, put
on wi' satin stitch, same pattern as Mistress
Amiel Grey, you know, used to work.
I ain't thought of it since then ; I didn't mis-
doubt it was one she'd gotten lent and was feared
o' losin' it ; but I sees it clear now. It was her
own name as she'd brought shame upon."
"It's obnoxious/' said Mrs. Symons, "it's
perfectly obnoxious; and to think of a quiet,
harmless lady like Miss Bruce harbouring such
Miss Luckie was passing the open door, and
caught the last sentence.
" What is that, Symons ?"
" It's Mrs. Edenall, ma'am/' cried Lettice,
whose tongue was generally in advance of her
discretion. " She's been and gone and tumbled
down the Norlands landslip, and smashed herself
all to nothing."
" Hould yer whisht, ye clattering magpie," said
Mrs. Marris, rising and curtseying until the top
tuck of her lilac gown touched the floor ; l ' it's
here, ma'am, she's turned out to be a impostor ;
she's not Mrs. Edenall at all, but a woman as
hasn't been no better than she ought. Mrs.
Cromarty found it out, ma'am ; she used to live
maid with her when she was a young leddy, but
you see with it being so many years back, she
never know'd her for the same while she see'd
her a-bending over that gentleman, that Mr.
Ramsay that got killed. I mind of Mrs. Cromarty
telling me summut a good bit past, but I didn't
give much heed. And there was a baby come,
ma'am, if you'll excuse me mentioning such a
circumstance, and you a virtuous maiden lady
as you've always been. And her name was
Marian Brandon, ma'am, Colin heered Mrs. Cro-
marty say so; but she's dead and gone, poor body,
now, and I won't rake up her sins agin her."
Marian Brandon ! Miss Luckie remembered that
letter of Mistress Amiel Grey's which Alice had
just shown to her. She tottered, pale and trem -
bling, to the nearest seat.
" Mercy on us, she's going to faint; born leddies
isn't used to hear tell o' such things !" and Lettice
rushed to the fireplace and tore out a great bunch
of mint, which she held under her mistress's
As Miss Luckie revived, the truth broke slowly
in upon her. Mrs. Edenall was Alice's mother.
And then she remembered that other name which,
in the midst of so much excitement and confusion,
she had not yet linked with him who was now
lying in Norlands Churchyard. Was Douglas
Ramsay the father of Alice ?
" Lettice, give me your hand to my room, I am
very much startled."
176 st. olave's.
The kind-hearted girl sprang forward, and sup-
ported Miss Luckie out of the kitchen. When
they were gone, Mrs. Marris tied on her bonnet.
' ' It isn't late, I'll slip down and tell my niece
as lives maid at Chapter Court. Law, what a
tasty bit of news it is, and won't the Archdeacon's
widdy open her eyes when she hears tell on it ?
She was allers dead set agin Mrs. Edenall, 'cause
she held up her head so high. It's a queer world,
K||Ii|HE day after Mrs. EdenalFs death,
LwidS J anet wrote to her solicitor in Cum-
Rnzsswa Der i an( ^ informing him of the accident,
and inquiring where the clothes, jewels, and other
articles of value belonging to the unfortunate
woman, should be forwarded. She received the
following reply : —
" Madam, — We are in receipt of the letter in
which you announce the particulars of Mrs.
EdenalFs untimely death. Perhaps you are not
aware that both Mrs. EdenalFs parents are dead,
and that, some years ago, her conduct was such as
to alienate her completely from the other mem-
VOL. III. N
178 st. olave's.
bers of her family, with whom, since that time, she
has held no communication. We are authorized
to say that any articles left by Mrs. Edenall at
Westwood are at your own disposal; and if you
have incurred any expenses on her account, they
will be defrayed on application to us. We are,
madam, your obedient servants,
" Messrs. Scrutem and Co."
Mrs. Edenall was buried by the side of Dou-
glas Ramsay. There chanced to be a vacant space,
and it seemed fitting to the parish authorities that,
as a similar accident had caused the death of both,
they should rest together. Janet and Mrs. Cro-
marty attended the funeral, which was very
As soon as it was over, Miss Bruce returned to
Westwood. After the weary struggle and restless-
ness of the past month, the stillness of the old home
seemed very restful. Tibbie had been there for
two or three days, getting all in order, airing the
rooms, arranging furniture, putting up curtains.
There was no love of change in the old woman's
disposition, and so she put everything back into
its former place, even to Mrs. EdenalFs crystal
st. olave's. 179
letter-weiglit ; which used to stand on the chimney-
piece, and David's pens and rolls of manuscript
music, which had lain on the little table in the
corner ever since he went away.
"It looks still, still and peaceful like," said
Tibbie to herself, as she stood in the doorway of
the parlour when all was arranged, " and the puir
leddy '11 no ruffle it mair the noo. She aye put a
glamour over it wi' her uncanny ways. The Lord
send that she sail ha' quiet rest aboon, for it was
far fra her i' this warld."
Janet arrived in the evening. Her first occupa-
tion, when she returned, was to gather up with
reverent care all Mrs. EdenalFs belongings and
lay them away in the room which she had occu-
pied. The letters and papers were left untouched,
also that desk where the purse lay. Janet was
the soul of honour, and she kept the secrets of
the dead as faithfully as those of the living. Then
she sat down and wrote to her brother.
She was no great correspondent. A letter
once a month or so was the most that passed
between them ; neither, when exchanged, did they
abound in sentiments or violent manifestations of
affection. Just a quiet, unimpassioned record of
the everyday life of each ; her little cares, little
duties, little pleasures, — his toils, triumphs, suc-
cesses won and difficulties overpast — these formed
the chief materials of their correspondence. The
inner life of each never came to the surface ; no
word was spoken now of the hopes which had
once brightened the future, or the memories which
lay like a cloud on the past.
Janet had not written to her brother since the
day before Douglas Ramsay's death. She told
him all of that now, of the first lonely watch, and
the death scene with its strange revelations. She
passed silently over her own griefs, and then went
on to that second death, Mrs. Edenall's. All the
particulars of both were given with clear, business-
like accuracy, no comments, no moralising,
nothing but the straightforward simple facts.
From the dead she passed to the living. David
had wished that she should not shrink from men-
tioning Alice's affairs to him, and especially the
wedding, whenever that should take place. So
she told him of the preparations which were being
made, said that the Highlands had been chosen
for their marriage jaunt, and closed her letter by
stating that Captain Clay, Alice's only surviving
ST. olave's. 181
relative, had come from India, and was now at the
Old Lodge, superintending the drawing-up of
settlements for the bride.
As soon as this letter was finished, she sent it by
Tibbie to the post, and then gave herself over to
a long, long spell of meditation.
It was very rarely that Janet Bruce suffered
herself to picture what life might have been. This
lack of imagination was of incalculable benefit to
her. It enabled her to take each day patiently,
and make the best she could of it. The quiet,
unvarying track of common work-day duty was
not dimmed for her, as it would have been for
others of more ardent natures, by the haunting
memory of sunshine overpast, or the still more
wearying hope deferred of joy that might come.
Life for her now, was just a straight, even, well-
defined track, with a beaten footpath opening out
from day to day; but no shady by-paths, no
flowery dingles, no sunlighted landscapes luring
her away to wander over their brightness. She
had conquered the past, and for her there was no
future except that of heaven.
We talk of the heroism of those who battle hard
in the thick of life against the mailed ranks of
182 st. olave's.
worldly passions and cares ; who toil to the death
with head, heart and hand, for standing-room and
victory. But it is more heroic to strive silently
with a grini array of memories which marshal
ghostlike on the soul's battle-field; and slay-
ing them one by one, trample over their dead
corpses to the life that lies beyond, the life of
patient unwearying duty. This is what many an
unknown Joan of Arc has to do, this is what
Janet Bruce did, though no one ever praised her
She was still sitting there, thinking over all
these things, when some one came along the
gravel walk. Janet lifted her head ; it was Mrs.
Cromarty. Something unusual had excited her.
She crushed the stones beneath her feet with an
impetuous tread, very unlike her usual calm, stately
bearing. Her swarthy brow was pale ; the rich
curves of her lips were compressed into a thin,
quivering red line, and fires of mingled womanly
indignation and pity burned through her dark
eyes. Janet beckoned her to come in, and she
stood in the doorway of the quiet little room,
startling its repose just as Mrs. Edenall used to do
in the old time. Hurriedly and eagerly, without
waiting for greeting or salutation, she began to speak,
" And if she was base-born, ma'am, her heart
is as white as an angel's wing, and it's ill credit
to the man as dares cast in her face the sins of
them that made her what she is. But it's none
that that's broke his troth, it's because she's lost
her bit of money; she hasn't a penny, the innocent
darling, to call her own, and if he was a true
man he'd grip her closer to his heart, he would,
because she'd nought to give him but herself,
instead of casting her off this way. Oh, ma'am,
it's a wicked world, it is."
" I don't understand," said Janet quietly.
As we have seen before, she was not expert at
taking up unfinished trains of thought and linking
them into actual facts.
" Ah, you haven't heard of it ? It's sorry then
that I am, ma'am, to be the first to tell ye such a
dreary story. It's bonnie Miss Alice, bless her.
The sorrow lies heavy upon her, the darlin', and
all for no ill doing of hers. She's no claim to
nothing in the Old Lodge, ma'am; and yon Captain
Clay, him as we thought had come to give her
away to Mr. Scrymgeour, owns every penny of the
money that should have been hers."
184 st. olave's.
" It is very sad, and Alice is not one to contend
with privation. But, Mrs. Cromarty, she will
soon have a home of her own and be safely
" Sorry a bit of it, ma'am ! He's cast her off,
the false, mean-hearted money-hunter; excuse
me, Miss Bruce, I oughtn't to speak such words,
and me professing to be a Christian woman, but
it's clean washed all the charity out of me, it has."
"Do you mean that Mr. Scrymgeour is not
going to marry Alice ? "
" Ay, ma'am, the pitiful thing that he is !"
. One wild thought of her brother darted through
Janet Bruce's mind, but she put it away
"I don't see clearly what you mean, Mrs.
Cromarty. Mistress Amiel Grey had no nearer
relative than Alice, at least so I always under-
c ' Miss Bruce," and Mrs. Cromarty came nearer
and spoke in a calm, rigid tone, "it's not a
thing one cares to talk about, and I'd never have
let it pass my lips, but there's others that'll tell
you if I don't. Poor Miss Alice, bless her, is no
niece of Mistress Amiel Grey's. She come to her
st. olave's. 185
when she was a helpless baby, and we all thought
she belonged to Mrs. Grey's kith and kin, but it
isn't so. She's the child of Marian Brandon,
Miss Bruce — her as we called Mrs. Edenall — and
yon Douglas Ramsay that lies dead in the church-
yard now. Theirs was the guilt, ma'am, and she
has the sorrow to bear."
Janet showed no outward sign of feeling, but it
seemed as if suddenly an icy hand had clutched
her in its grasp and frozen the very life out of her.
This Alice Grey — this young girl whom she had
caressed and fondled — was the child of her own
betrothed — the seal of his faithlessness to her.
God forgive her that for one moment a thought of
passionate anger burst forth against the unconscious
girl ! But only for a moment. Ere it had time
to shape itself into a feeling, it was borne away by
the God-given charity which endureth all things
and thinketh no evil.
For some time she sat quite still. Janet was
slow to take up new thoughts ; she was not slow to
take up new duties. It was her habit to be quiet,
but whilst those who called her cold or apathetic
were wasting time in unavailing regrets, she devised
means for relief.
" Mrs. Cromarty," she said, after a pause, " I
must go to Alice. If you are returning to St.
Olave's, be so kind as to send me a cab down
from the nearest stand. "
" That I'll do, ma'am, and welcome. I'm think-
ing there's none will comfort the poor young thing
like you can. Miss Luckie, bless her, is as kind
as kind ; but, ma'am, she's never known the real
touch of sorrow at her heart — not stinging sorrow
as reaches right down to the bottom — and I reckon
it's none but that sort makes us able to speak a
word in season to them that's weary."
It was late in the evening when Miss Bruce
arrived at the Old Lodge. Captain Clay was there,
examining the oil paintings in the oriel room, and
directing the workmen to pack those which he
wished to retain. The whole house was in con-
fusion. Two men were taking an inventory of the
furniture ; Symons, a look of steady resentment
on her face, was emptying the contents of the china
closet and arranging them in order on the table ;
another servant was collecting the plate for a gold-
smith who had come to weigh it. Lettice, with
her arms full of linen and table-cloths, met Janet
in the hall.
st. olave's. 187
" Can I speak to Miss Grey ? "
Lettice dropped the napery and bnrst into a
passionate fit of crying.
" Folks says she's none Miss Grey, now, but
they can't rob her of her blessed christened name,
as we all love her by, the darling ! I knowed that
man meant mischief by his looks as soon as ever
he set foot in the house, but I never thought to
see ought like this. We're all going to be thrown
out of place, ma'am, and what's to become on us,
goodness knows !"
And Lettice threw her apron over her head with
a fresh burst of tears.
Miss Bruce watched her very quietly.
" Will you show me where Miss Alice is ? " she
said again, " I wish to see her."
Lettice pushed the piles of linen on one side,
and conducted Janet to Alice's room. It was in
the oldest part of the house, over the oriel room,
with a heavy stone-mullioned window looking out
into the Close. It had an unkept, comfortless
appearance now ; some of the furniture had been
removed, the ornaments taken away, the oak chests,
where Aunt Amiel used to keep her linen, emptied,
and some of the contents scattered on the tfoor.
188 st. olave's.
Alice did not hear Miss Bruce come in. She was
sitting on the broad low window-seat,, her hands
clasped loosely together, her forehead pressed
against the stone framework. The sunny brown
ringlets that hung over her face were wet with
tears, but she was not crying now. Her grief
seemed to have spent itself, and she only moaned
heavily as if in pain.
This was Douglas Ramsay's child. Janet crushed
back all other thoughts but those of pity. She
went softly up to the poor girl, and laid her hands
upon the head that was bowed down so help-
" Alice, I have come to take you home to me."
Think, you tender-hearted, suffering woman,
who may have staked your happiness on the faith
of one man and found him worthless — think of the
bitterness that would curdle your very blood at sight
of his base-born child, his child, but not yours,
the seal that fixed your separation, and not the
tie that bound you more closely together — and then
say with whom you would mate this quiet, cold, un-
demonstrative Janet Bruce, as she leaned over the
desolate girl and whispered —
" Alice, come home to me."
Alice only moaned and pressed her pale face more
closely against the stone nmllions. She was ut-
terly broken down and crushed. She had none of
the pride which carries some women through an
ordeal as severe as this, and nerves them to bear it
without a tear, lest pity should be offered, that
pity which is far worse than silence. Miss Bruce
said no more to her. She fetched Lettice up and
told her to put together such things as her young
mistress would need for the present; then she
went to Miss Luekie to tell her of the arrange-
ment which she had made, and then back again to
the poor girl who was still sitting there in a mute,
unconscious stupor of grief.
Janet's manner was calm and decided as she
laid her hand on Alice's shoulder. This time
Alice lifted up her face ; its look, so charged with
helpless, uncomplaining woe, almost overcame
Janet. She put her arm round her, and led her
downstairs to the cab which was waiting at the
door. Without a word Alice suffered herself to be
lifted in. Lettice put the portmanteau under the
seat. With a jerky bow and a quick "where to
next, ma'am ?" the driver shut up the steps, and
so Alice Grey left the Old Lodge, the home of her
childhood, the home she thought to leave ere long
amidst the pomp and flutter of bridal happiness.
Night was falling when they reached Westwood.
The sky was grey, and a drizzly rain fell softly
upon the fluttering leaves. Tibbie had lighted a
fire in the parlour ; tea was waiting for them on
the little white-covered table ; all looked peaceful
and homelike, scarce changed from that summer
evening twelvemonths ago when Alice first came
as a guest to that house. The poor child seemed
still to be in a sort of dream. Janet took off her hat
and cloak, and then made her sit down on the sofa.
As she drew the pale little face closer to her own
bosom, she noticed with a sharp grip of pain how
like it was to Douglas Ramsay's. For his sake
she kissed the forehead, then the colourless cheeks,
then the still lips folded down in mute, patient
grief. This tenderness seemed to rouse Alice.
She lifted herself up : —
" Oh, Miss Bruce, I could have borne it all if
only Cuthbert had kept on loving me."
And then with a gush of tears in which it
seemed as if she would have wept her very life
away, she fell into Janet's arms, the only rest-
ing place that was left for her now.
UTHBERT, if I were asked to give
my opinion, I should say that the
sacrifice of affection which you have
been called upon to make, and from which,
to the everlasting honour of your family and
position you have not selfishly shrunk, reflects the
utmost credit upon you; and by thus nobly
allowing private feeling to become a martyr to the
superior claims of social status, you have immea-
surably exalted yourself in my estimation."
This somewhat lengthy and well-digested sy-
nopsis of archidiaconal sentiment was given, it is
needless to inform the reader, in the dining room
of Chapter Court, and proceeded from the lips of
192 st. olave's.
Mrs. Scrymgeour, who sat in customary afternoon
state at the right-hand side of the velvet pile
She held in her hand a piece of rich white satin,
on which she was embroidering the Scrymgeour
arms in gold and silver thread, for a banner screen.
This piece of work was originally intended as a
wedding present to Alice Grey, and Mrs. Scrym-
geour had thought of having the Old Lodge arms
quartered on the opposite side in royal blue. She
congratulated herself however, now, that she had
not gone to the expense of having them drawn for
that purpose. In its present condition the screen
was complete, and might answer for a future bride-
elect without further alteration.
The Chapter Court cat couched in the centre of
the hearthrug. Its forepaws were held together, its
eyes closed, its head slightly uplifted. One might
have thought it was returning thanks on account
of the great deliverance which had been wrought
out for the dignity of the family.
Cuthbert, in a luxuriously-cushioned arm-chair,
sipped his coffee with the air of a gentleman.
Certainly he did not give the impression of a
person suffering under wounded susceptibilities as
he lounged gracefully back, his dainty kid boots
elevated on a crimson hassock, his right hand
lying like a lily leaf upon the black locks of a little
Skye-terrier that crouched beside him, his left
toying with a silver spoon crested with the Scrym-
geour arms. On the whole, he looked rather
comfortable than otherwise. But we will take it
for granted that he possessed in an eminent degree
the invaluable art of self-control. Perhaps in
secret he might shed a tear or two over his
blighted hopes, and men's faces don't show sorrow
as women's do.
Neither was there much of the martyr spirit
impressed on that aristocratic face, with its frame-
work of silky brown locks, and pendent tassels
of whisker. Mr. Scrymgeour was not likely at
present to become a martyr either to his principles
-or his affections. You might have looked in vain,
too, for any abatement of the complacency which
ruled supreme over those chiselled features, or
any, even the slightest twinge of sorrow, if not for
the suffering he had caused, at least for the
downfall his honour had sustained. Evidently
the thought never suggested itself to Cuthbcrt
VOL. III. o
194 st. olave's.
Scrymgeour that in withdrawing from his engage-
ment he had done violence to the minutest fraction
of moral or social etiquette. It was, as he ex-
plained to his friends, ff an unfortunate circum-
stance, but unavoidable, perfectly unavoidable/'
And they quite agreed with him. Had the affair
touched Alice's pedigree only, and left her purse
intact, possibly Cuthbert might have screwed
himself up to the heroic, and fortified his resolution
with that oft-quoted couplet : —
" Kind hearts are more than coronets,
And simple faith than Norman blood."
But when money and position pass off together
in invisible vapour from the social crucible, it is
astonishing how little people think of the useless
residuum of goodness which remains.
" So fortunate, my dear Cuthbert/' continued
the Archdeacon's widow, in the blandest of tones,
" so fortunate that the eclair cissement took place
just when it did. Had not the death of that
perfidious woman delayed the consummation of
your marriage with the girl she palmed upon
society as her niece, I tremble to think what the
consequences must have been. Cuthbert, I could
st. olave's. 195
never have lifted up my head in St. Olave's, had
I beheld the nephew, in whom are centred my
fondest earthly hopes, inveigled into an indis-
soluble connection with — but I will not soil my
lips by repeating the word which designates Alice
" It's a confounded nuisance, Aunt. I expect
the thing's bandied about all over the city."
"To your credit, Cuthbert. It cannot be
mentioned but with infinite credit to yourself. I
am convinced the Close families will join in
supporting your motives. Indeed, the Canon's
lady has already confided to me her profound
sympathy with you as regards the deception of
which you had so nearly become the dupe."
"I wonder how the little girl feels," said
Cuthbert, lifting up a spoonful of coffee, and
letting it fall in sparkling amber drops back again
to his cup, greatly to the delight of Skye, who
sat on his hind legs watching the process.
" Cuthbert, I have dismissed the unfortunate
creature from my affections, and I trust your
fortitude will prompt you to act with equal de-
cision. I am happy, however, to say, that my
indignation did not lead me to forget the claims
196 st. olave's.
of ceremony. I sent my maid across with cards
as soon as the affair was concluded."
That was quite true. On the heels of the
messenger, who delivered np poor Alice' s little
love tokens, came a second, bearing cards and
Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour's sincere sympathies.
Miss Luckie was crossing the hall, and received
both sets of articles at the same time ; the
sympathies she consigned to nameless limbo, the
cards she tore in pieces, and, in the violence
of her indignation, flung them among the pig's
" I say, Aunt, to think now of Alice being the
daughter of that imperial Mrs. Edenall ! "
Mrs. Scrymgeour elevated the banner screen
so as to hide her face, which glowed with insulted
' ' Cuthbert ! u she exclaimed, " if you have any
respect for yonr aunt, do not presume to mention
that woman's name in my presence. I expunge
the very thought of her from my memory ; the
unprincipled outcast, to think of intruding herself
into the bosom of a respectable family; nay more,
to fix her residence in the precincts of a Cathedral
city ; nay more, to insinuate herself morning by
st. olave's. 197
morning into the t ecclesiastical edifice itself, and
flaunt her shame in the very next pew to the pre-
bendary stall — Cuthbert, it is an everlasting dis-
grace to the Close; it reflects a stain npon us
which can never be effaced. It outrages all the
principles of "
Gently,, gently, Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour !
Now and then as you trail your sumptuous silks
across the pavement of the High Street, a
fair young girl, once pure as well as fair, be-
dizened now in the tawdry finery of the castaway,
and wearing on her brow the brand which no tears
can wash away, crosses your path. She once
waited upon you, Mrs. Scrymgeour. She once
smoothed those grizzled curls of yours, and folded
the archidiaconal velvet over your heart-empty
bosom, and heard you read out of that crimson-
covered prayer-book words of tender, loving kind-
ness, the words of Him who spake as never man
spake, who hallowed all human love by the touch
of Divine sympathy, who said not of the hardened,
but the repentant sinner — ' ' Neither do I condemn
thee." She heard you read those words, Mrs.
Scrymgeour. But in an unfortunate moment you
discovered her gossiping with a follower, ay,
198 st. olave's.
brazen-faced hussy that she was, actually permit-
ting the scoundrel to kiss her cheek behind the
shadow of your ecclesiastical back kitchen door;
and out of your employ then and there she went.
You knew she had no home, but that mattered not;
sheltered or unsheltered she should not make the
grey walls of Chapter Court a screen for forbidden
love passages, so she left at a moment's notice, —
where, was of no consequence. And now, does it
enter that heart of yours to think that one day
her innocence may be required at your hands,
before a tribunal from which there is no appeal ?
Apparently it did not, for Mrs. Archdeacon
Scrymgeour continued in the same sedate, dignified
tones : —
" I consider it a duty which every pure-minded
woman owes to her sex, to discountenance to the
utmost such unprincipled creatures, and to abandon
them to the punishment with their evil deeds
deserve. I have no sympathy which those mis-
taken individuals who would relax the barriers of
judicious moral restraint, and extend the right hand
of sympathy to women who have set at defiance
the institutes of virtue/''
The cat drew herself up, folded her tail deco-
st. olave's. 199
rously round her fore-paws, and turned towards her
mistress with a complacent pucker of her face
which seemed to say : " Mrs. Scrymgeour, I en-
dorse your sentiments, and am proud of them."
' c She must have had money, though," continued
Cuthbert. ' ' Did I not hear you say that diamond
bracelet of hers was the envy of the Close, and
her lace shawls or mantles, or whatever you call
them, were the real things, best Spanish ?"
"Cuthbert, since you force me to the subject,
I repeat my conviction that the articles to which
you refer were the wages of guilt, nor can I acquit
the Braces of lamentable and even culpable neglect,
i n not having instituted a more strict inquiry into
her character before they received her into the
bosom of their family."
" But," persisted the pertinacious nephew, "you
once thought of leaving cards, did you not, and
you only did not do it for fear of patronizing the
Mrs. Scrymgeour summoned all her dignity.
"Cuthbert, we will, if you please, drop the
The subject was dropped accordingly, and a
profound silence ensued. It must have lasted some
minutes, when Blanche Egerton sailed slowly past
the window on her way to the Deanery, where
Elene Somers was having a few mnsical friends to
practise part-songs. She wore a heavy black lace
dress, a floating bnrnons of crimson grenadine
fell in graceful folds round her tall figure, and from
her little black velvet hat a single white feather
drooped and mingled with the blue-black braids of
Mrs. Scrymgeour laid down her work and de-
liberately took in the general effect of this magni-
ficent brunette toilette. Then she resumed her
operations on the banner-screen, and by-and-by
remarked, as if bringing to a close some well
wrought out train of thought —
"I should say old Squire Egerton will leave
those grand-daughters of his, twenty-five thousands
each at the very least/'' Another pause. — " Very
good family too, unblemished pedigree, not a bar-
sinister that I am aware of, on their escutcheon."
The cat intimated her approval of these state-
ments by a wave of her left paw. There was no
reply from Cuthbert, who was still idly toying with
Skye's jetty locks.
The clock in the hall struck eight. Mr. Scrym-
ST. olave's. 201
geour set down his coffee-cup and strolled to the
window. A furniture dray stood at the door of
the Old Lodge ; it was half filled with packages,
and a couple of men were arranging others upon
it which looked like picture -cases.
"Yes, Aunt," — it was a full half-hour since
Blanche Egerton had vanished through the grey
portals of the Deanery — "And I always liked a
So, courteous reader, between you and me, I
fancy we may consider that little matter as finally
arranged. And let us hope that Squire Egerton
will not take it into his head to marry again, as is
so frequently the fashion amongst old men now-a-
i|S|gEHEIlE was a general sale at the Old
AffisKJI Lodge a fortnight after Captain Clay's
■ SXBas ^ 2 arrival. He did not intend to nse the
place as a residence. Accustomed as he had been
for so many years to the bustle and excitement of
foreign military life, the brooding dulness of a
second-rate Cathedral city appeared intolerable ;
and, therefore, after making all needful arrange-
ments, he left for his estate in the South.
Of all things in this world — at least that part of
it which lives in handsome houses and gives liberal
entertainments — there is scarcely anything more
sad than the private view days which precede a
general auction sale. To watch brokers and bar-
gain-hunters scanning with shrewd, greedy-eyed
intelligence, the little home treasures which have
been made sacred by their association with the
departed \ to see so-called friends prying curiously,
and with the easy air of privileged intruders, into
the rooms where once they had been courteously
entreated as guests, or speculating on the possible
price of services of plate from which scarce a
month ago they had partaken the hospitality of
its dead or bankrupt owner — there is something
rather melancholy in all this. Surely, if a de-
parted spirit wished to see one of the most painful
phases of human life, he could not do better than
revisit his old abode during the private view days
of the auction sale which finishes up his funeral
Everything at the Old Lodge was sold, except
some oil paintings and a few pieces of the rarer
furniture. The attendance was large. Some came
to see the mansion with its splendid entrance hall,
andwainscotted galleries, and tapestried state rooms
which had once been the resting-places of kings.
Antiquarians revelled amongst the carved oak
cabinets and chests, each of which was worth a cart-
load of modern drawing-room furniture. A few
204 st. olave's.
stiff old maidens, who had a weakness for china,
slipped across the Close to inspect Mistress Amiel
Grey's goodly store of Dresden and Sevres. Others,
not a few, came simply for the sake of lounging
over the rooms where once they had been wel-
comed as guests, and gossipping over the unfortu-
nate affair which had made such a sudden splash
in the stagnant waters of Close society.
The view commenced in the afternoon, but be-
fore that time a few of the families, who objected
to being mixed up with the vulgar herd of ordi-
nary sale goers,made friends with the auctioneer,
and got admittance to an extra private view, early
in the morning, before the touch of fingers
smirched with trade or shopkeeping had marred
Mistress Amiel Grey's household treasures.
" Exquisite napery this, Mrs. Spurge/' and
Canon Crumpet' s wife laid her white hand on a
pile of silken fine damask which was arranged on
one of the corner tables in the oriel room. " And
so new too ; really it cannot have been washed
more than once or twice."
iC Part of the wedding outfit, dear Mrs. Crum-
pet/' whispered the Colonel's lady ; "you know the
day was fixed and everything prepared, and the
poor girl, expecting she had unlimited means at
command, spared no expense. An unfortunate
thing, wasn't it?* 1
<< Very unfortunate/' Mrs. Crumpet replied,
unfolding one of the dinner napkins, snowdrop
pattern, with Mrs. Grey's crest woven in the centre.
"Very unfortunate, especially for poor Mr.
Scrymgeour. I really pity him from the bottom
of my heart ; you know it must have been such a
blow to him, such a very great blow ! "
" It was an unpleasant affair, certainly."
f ' Yes, and he could not have acted otherwise
than he did. You know it would have been com-
pletely out of the question for him to have thrown
himself away upon a girl who had not even com-
mon respectability to sustain herself with. Would
it not, dear Mrs. Spurge ? "
Mrs. Spurge thought that it would have been,
as the Canon's wife said, completely out of the
question. It behoved a clergyman to consider his
position. Position in a Cathedral city was of the
utmost importance ; everything must give way to it.
There was a rustle of draperies behind them,
the draperies of Mrs. Egerton and brown-eyed
206 st. olave's.
" Ah, Mrs. Egerton, good morning ! good
morning, Blanche. Beautiful show of things, is
there not ? Mrs. Spurge and I were just talking
over this table linen, exquisitely fine, isn't it ?
But do you know, Mrs. Egerton, I don't fancy any
of the Close people will purchase, on account of the
" Can't it be picked out ?" said Blanche, " I
suppose it is only marked in with silk."
"No, Blanche dear, it is part of the design.
I remember once when I was dining here, Mrs.
Grey told me she had it manufactured at a place
in Ireland, expressly for the Old Lodge table.
Poor dear old lady, you know she was always so
very particular about her table arrangements.
If she could only step in now and see the
Ah, if she only could !
" Well, do you know, Mrs. Egerton," said the
Canon's lady, " it strikes me as the most flagrant
piece of deception I ever knew ; so unprincipled,
really so very unprincipled. I cannot understand
how Mrs. Grey could lend herself to anything so
unprincipled. And when everyone in the Close
gave her credit for such unbounded goodness.
st. olave's. 207
But the world is very hollo w, is it not, dear Mrs.
Mrs. Egerton said that the world was hollow,
very hollow indeed, painfully so in fact ; and then
the four ladies moved away to examine the plate
and china which were set out at the other end of
Mrs. Crumpet took up the pieces of the massive
green and gold dessert service, and tapped them
separately with her gloved knuckles.
"Quite sound, not a flaw in them. Do you
know, I've set my mind on this service. As soon
as ever I heard of the unfortunate turn affairs had
taken, I said to my eldest girl — Sophia, dear,
there's sure to he a sale now at the Old Lodge,
and I shall step across and secure that service. It
was a present from Dean Grey to his wife when
they were married. Beautiful workmanship, you
see. Alice used to he very proud of it, on account
of some peculiarity in the tint. Do you know
what has become of the girl, Mrs. Spurge V
" I really don't, dear Mrs. Crumpet. The entire
affair was so exceedingly disreputable that I feci
it due to my position not to inquire too minutely
"I heard something about it/' said Blanche,
lifting her dreamy eyes from a little silver bouquet
holder of Alice's which was lying with the rest of
the plate. Miss Bruce is giving her a home at
Westwood until she can turn herself to some
means of subsistence. Mrs. Scrymgeour told me
so." And as she mentioned that name, a faint
blush stole over Miss Egerton's ivory cheek.
" Exceedingly kind of Miss Bruce. Possibly
she knows more of the aifair than we do, but the
Westwood people are the very last whom I should
have suspected of harbouring Alice Brandon."
"Alice who? dear Mrs. Crumpet," and the
Colonel's lady lifted her aristocratic head with an
air of polite inquiry — " Alice who ? n
" Brandon, Alice Brandon. Is it possible, Mrs.
Spurge, that you have not heard ? "
" Well, you know I am in the habit of having
my young people always with me, and of course
in their presence I make a point of abstaining
from anything that might bring the slightest
possible stain on their youthful minds. But do
Mrs. Crumpet stood severely erect at the head
of the table, stately and dignified as any of the
stone worthies who kept watch over the west front
of the Minster. Her left hand rested on the
handle of Mrs. Grey's silver urn, the urn from
which, in days gone by, she had often quaffed
the cup which cheers but not inebriates ; her
right pressed with all friendliness the gloved
fingers of the Colonel's lady.
"You recollect the — the person — the woman
I mean, who under the name of Mrs. EdenalL,
palmed herself, about a year ago, upon Miss
Bruce. She was killed, you know, the other
" Oh, yes. She sat near the Prebend's stall in
the Cathedral, and wore such exquisite moire
antiques. A distinguished-looking woman rather,
and very tall."
"Yes, some of these unfortunate creatures are
quite superior in their bearing. Well, she has
turned out to be — you understand/' and Mrs.
Crumpet supplied the residue of her information
with an emphatic gesture of scornful contempt.
" It was accidentally found out," she continued,
" Mrs. Cromarty, the housekeeper at Norlands,
discovered her bending over that gentleman who
was thrown from his horse at the landslip, and
VOL. III. P
210 ST. olave's.
conducting herself in a very strange manner
towards him. And then it turned out that he
was the man with whom, nearly twenty years
before, she had absconded."
" Dear Mrs. Crumpet, how disreputable ! And
to think that her presence was actually suffered
at the Cathedral prayers. But how providential
that no one left cards. Well, and about Alice ? "
« rp^g gi r } w l 10 m we always took to be Mrs.
Grey's niece, and whom we have treated with
such uniform respect and consideration, is the
child of this clandestine union ; illegitimate of
course, and therefore unfit to be received any
more into respectable society. I wonder Miss
Bruce sees it consistent to have her at Westwood,
but Scotch people are rather peculiar; and of
course now that Mr. Bruce is abroad there is no
danger of that kind in the way. Dear me ! I am sur-
prised you have never heard of the affair. I daresay,
however, Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour would like
it hushed up as much as possible ; you know it
was a very disagreeable thing for a man of Mr.
Scrymgeour's position to have his name mixed up
with such exceptionable people."
" Exactly, and to have been made the dupe of
Mrs. Grey's wiles — a person who was always thought
to be the very soul of honour. But as you say,
Mrs, Crumpet, the world is hollow, painfully
hollow. Would you object to step across with me
into the drawing-room ? I fancy those tabouret
curtains would just suit my bay window, and I
have some thought of securing the little ormolu
time-piece for the bracket in Blanche's boudoir,
the dear child has such a fancy for anything
After all, it is a merciful providence which pre-
vents departed souls from revisiting their earthly
resting-places, for in most cases the retrospect
would be anything but pleasant.
HE Old Lodge servants were paid off>
and the house advertised to be let.
f S UrtnfTw'rg l Greatly to the wrath and indignation
of the Close families, who had set their hearts
npon a baronet, or at the very least the younger
son of a titled family, it was taken by a purse-
proud millionaire from Millsmany, a flaunting
fungus spawned in the dark recesses of dye-
houses and machinery ; more obnoxious, as Mrs.
Scrymgeour observed, than even Mrs. Edenall
herself; for that person, however faulty her
antecedents might have been, always preserved
the external appearance of a lady, and never
st. olave's. 213
roamed the Close, as the new-comers did, in
toilets that might have been turned out of
Mr. Bnllens was a jolly, carousing, country-
squire-like sort of man, with a red-faced wife,
who dropped her h's, and walked out before
dinner in a pink silk dress with three flounces.
There were two daughters, good-tempered girls,
but terribly coarse, according to the St. Olave's
canon of good taste. They used to carry brown -
paper parcels in the streets, and laughed so that
you might hear them from one end of the Close
to the other. Three grown-up sons completed
the family. They had warehouses in Millsmany,
but came over to St. Olave's for the Sunday.
The Close mammas took stock of them during
their first public appearance at church, and then
consigned them to oblivion, as being quite ineligi-
ble in a matrimonial point of view.
By-and-by the Old Lodge began to manifest
unmistakable symptoms of its change of owner-
ship. Mr. Bullens would fain have had the old
brick-work re-dressed and painted a uniform
bright red, but the landlord had reserved the
right of external alterations, and so the Mills-
214 st. olave's.
many taste had to be confined to the garden, and
The pleached alleys, and trim, fancifully- cut
box trees at the back of the house, were hewn
down, and their places supplied by an Italian
garden, — a dazzling patchwork of many-coloured
flower-beds, with a huge wire basket full of gera-
niums in the middle, and plaster-of-Paris statues
disposed at judicious intervals. Brilliant amber
curtains, with gilded cornices of the latest design,
draped the heavy mullioned windows of the
drawing-room ; the oaken furniture, that matched
so well with the polished wainscotting and cathe-
dral outlook of the room, was replaced by rose-
wood and amber damask ; and Mrs. Grey's
Dresden china and antique ornaments gave way
before a motley array of fancy scent-bottles,
papier-mache cases, wax flowers, and little bits of
knick-knackery, which made the place look alto-
gether like a Roman matron — the mother of the
Gracchi, for instance, decked out in crinoline and
a ball dress.
The Position Committee, with Mrs. Scrymgeour
at its head, " sat " upon the Bullenses soon after
their arrival, and unanimously placed them in
st. olave's. 215
one of the back apartments of the social edifice,
quite beyond the pale of cards or civilities of any
description. Mrs. and the Misses Bullens, in
blissful ignorance of the locality assigned them,
prepared to receive the homage which they
doubted not wonld be tendered to their long
purses. Accordingly, after making a magnificent
appearance at church, they arrayed themselves
in flounced silks, and sat in state morning after
morning, waiting patiently for the cards that
were never sent, and the callers that never
They did not trouble themselves much, how-
ever, about the mistake into which they had
fallen ; finding that St. Olave's was not
productive in the social department, they consoled
themselves by a liberal allowance of champagne
dinners, gay dresses, and as much gaiety, in the
way of balls and assemblies, as could be got
without a voucher. Meanwhile, the goodly fel-
lowship of the Close families looked on with a
grim smile ; outwardly scorning the pretentious
display of the new-comers, but inwardly chafing,
though they would not allow it to themselves, at
the cast-iron barriers of conventionality, which
216 st. olave's.
prevented the golden current of the Millsmany
wealth from uniting itself with their unblemished
centuries of Norman blood.
Captain Clay, though a worldly man,, was not
hard-hearted. Finding that Miss Brandon, as
she was now called, was left entirely dependent,
he gave for her use the cottage at Norlands,
together with the little garden immediately sur-
rounding it. The moors and pasture lands, which
belonged to the estate, were let separately. He
also allowed her a stipend of fifty pounds a
year, to be paid to her out of the rental of the
St, Olave's property, which had formerly belonged
to Mistress Amiel Grey. This was to be con-
tinued until such time as she married, or was
able in some way to earn her own living. Miss
Luokie's friends exerted themselves in her behal f
with such diligence that, within a month from
the breaking up of the establishment at the Old
Lodge, she was once more safely installed into
her post at the Low Gardens, with the privileges
and immunities pertaining thereto. Alice staid
with Miss Bruce until Mrs. Cromarty, who
steadily refused to quit the service of her young
st. olave's. 217
mistress, had got the Norlands Cottage into
grder; and then she went there, to live, with
such patience and fortitude as she could, the new,
strangely straitened life which had been portioned
out to her.
Alice was too self-unconscious to be proud.
That very guileless, unthinking simplicity of
nature which would prevent her from reaching to
any very lofty height of womanly greatness, kept
her also from the painful smart of wounded
dignity, which to many suffering under a grief
like hers would have been intolerable.
And even the love so heartlessly thrown back
upon her, had not wrought its way far down into
the depths of her nature. It had never as yet
compassed her whole capacity of enjoying and
suffering, or become a real influence in her life
for good or evil. True, it was such a love as
many, perhaps most, women marry and "live
happily ever afterwards " upon ; perhaps, also,
it was such a love as might have served her, too,
until compliments and caresses began to pall both
upon the giver and receiver of them. But the
loss of it did not blast her life. It did not, like
some wounds which God sends, leave a scar
which neither heaven nor earth can ever wholly
heal. She let it go from her as children watch
the death of some pet creature which has fed
from their hands,, and amused them with its
pretty ways. She wept and bewailed much, but
the capacity of enjoying and loving remained still.
A few weeks, perhaps a few months, and the
wound might be quite healed ; and this not
because she was either shallow or heartless, but
simply because the young nature holds nothing
with an unyielding grasp.
Alice had not lost her youthfulness of heart.
It was well for her that the first great trial of her
life came while as yet she had elasticity enough
to meet and overmaster it. It belongs not to the
first years of life to sorrow lastingly over any-
thing that mars their sunshine. Perhaps, too,
she bore her double loss better, the loss of fortune
and the loss of affection, because she could not
at once realize all its meaning. Self-denial,
economy, retrenchment — these were words which
had no meaning for Alice. She knew that a very
different life to the one she had hitherto lived,
waited for her now; but she committed herself
to the exigencies of her new position in the same
st. olave's. 219
blind faith with which she had looked forward, a
little while before, to the responsibilities of the
feminine pastorate, trusting that ability would
somehow come with necessity. And not until
some months of the new life, with its unaccus-
tomed trials and pinching privations had passed
away, did her spirit falter or her little heart give
The day after that other letter had been posted,
Janet sat down and wrote to her brother again ;
giving him, in her plain, simple, straight-forward
way, a full account of the reverses which had
befallen Alice, the breaking off of the marriage,
the loss of fortune, position, name, — everything in
fact but the little cottage at Norlands, and the
scanty pittance which was scarce enough to keep
her from absolute want. She told him of her
bringing the poor, friendless girl home to West-
wood for awhile ; and then, which was a far harder
thing to tell, of Alice's relationship to Mrs.
Edenall and Douglas Ramsay.
This letter she sent to Leipsic, to the same
address as the previous one. In the next letter
which she received from David Bruce, he alluded
to none of the facts she had mentioned. He ex-
pressed a little kind, brotherly sympathy with her
in the troubles through which she had herself
passed, and in a few brief words told her how
closely through those weeks of anxiety she had
been held in his memory and prayers. But there
was no word of pity for Alice, nor of sorrow for
the great grief which had come upon her. It
seemed as if both in prosperity and adversity he
would put her from his thoughts, and suffer the
past to be as though it had never been. Janet
wondered. But she had unbounded faith in her
brother, and she took it for granted that his
silence was the silence of wisdom. Perhaps the
old dream had faded quite away now, and a new
love, brighter, more prosperous, risen from the
ashes of the past. Still, it would have been so
easy to have sent one little word of pity, to have
said that he remembered her, or was sorry for
Alice staid at Westwood three weeks. Janet's
tender loving-kindness, so silent, but so true, did
her much good. She learned not to forget her
sorrow, but to receive it humbly, reverently,
as something whereby she might reach to a
purer life. Gradually the bitterness of it wore
away. The old look, not quite so bright, perhaps,
but quiet and peaceful still, came back to her
young face, and at times she was almost buoyant
again. Alice might make a noble woman yet,
nobler far than if this sorrow had never come.
The force which it opposed to the playful current
of her former life woke up courage and resolution.
She must do and endure now, not simply enjoy;
and when this lesson is once learned, the founda-
tion of worthy character is laid.
Often in their long conversations they had
spoken of the wayward, fitful, suffering woman
whose strange fate had cast a shadow over the
Westwood home, but as yet Janet had found no
words to tell Alice how closely her own life was
linked with that of Mrs. Edenall. Over and
over again, in her innocent, unconscious talk,
Alice had trodden on the very verge of the great
secret, and as often had Janet shrunk from telling
her all the truth.
When duty led the way, Janet never flinched.
Had she known for certain that to tell Alice the
facts of Mrs. Edenall's history was the best thing
that could be done, she would have nerved herself
for the task, and, at any expense of personal feel-
222 st. olave's.
ing, told her all that she ought to know. But
she questioned with herself whether the revelation
would bring good or ill. The shock might be too
great for Alice just now. She often used to talk,
in a vague, uncertain sort of way, of finding her
parents. She seemed to cling to the hope that
somehow or somewhere they would meet ; and to
tell her of her utter loneliness might do more
harm than good. The truth, however, came at
last in its own time and way.
It was one quiet, sunshiny evening, towards the
close of Alice's stay, and she and Janet sat
together in the open bow-window of the West-
wood parlour. They had been consulting about
the future, what could be made of it. Janet was
trying to contrive some plan by which Alice might
eke out the small stipend which Captain Clay
allowed, so as to make it cover needful household
expenses. After the subject had been carefully
discussed, Alice took out Aunt AmiePs letter
from her desk. She had never read it since that
fateful night when its contents wrought such
terrible grief for her.
As she opened it, there fell out the little note
which Mistress Grey had enclosed, but which Alice
st. olave's. 223
as yet had never read, thinking that it had only
come there by chance. It was very old and
yellow ,and had a musty smell, something like
the chant and anthem books that had been
mouldering for years in the organ pew at St.
Olave's cathedral. This was all the note con-
" To Mistress Amiel Grey. Madam, — I am
authorized by the friends of the woman, Marian
Brandon, who is now under restraint in conse-
quence of mental derangement, to inform you that
they fully comply with your requirements regard-
ing the infant which you have undertaken to rear.
For the future no claim will be made upon it by
any of the Brandon family, and the disposal of it
is left to your sole control.
" I am, madam, yours respectfully,
" Augustus Brandon."
There was an engraved crest upon this sheet of
paper, surmounted by a motto. Alice examined
it carefully. She knew a little about heraldry,
for Mistress Amiel Grey, with the pride of old
aristocratic descent, had often shown her the
Grey and Grisby crests, together with others
belonging to the Close families, and explained to
her the origin of the different devices. This one
was an open hand, pierced with a dart. Above
was the motto, " Post tenebra lux"
"Miss Bruce/'' said Alice, after awhile, "I
have seen this crest before, on a handkerchief of
Mrs. EdenalPs. There was a name, too, but I
forget it now. What was Mrs. EdenalFs maiden
name, do you know V 9
The truth could not be concealed any longer
now. Janet took both Alice's hands in hers, and
looking earnestly into her face, said —
"Alice, I am going to tell you something
that may be very painful to you; can you
bear it ?"
"I think I can. You told me once that
suffering was never too hard to be borne, so long
as there was no sin in it, and I don't know that I
have been doing anything wrong."
" This Mrs. Edenall, Alice, who lived with us
so long, was your mother ; her name was Marian
Brandon. We never knew it until after she was
dead. She did not know either that you were
her child. They told her a long time ago that
you were dead, and she believed it."
st. olave's. 225
Alice seemed neither shocked nor startled. She
bent down, hiding her face on Janet Bruce's
knee. Janet thought she would have wept or
trembled — she did neither. Over and over again
she whispered to herself, " Mamma, Mrs. Eden-
all V 3 By-and-by she lifted herself up, and look-
ing into Janet's eyes with a long, earnest, ques-
tioning gaze, she said —
" And my father, Janet ?"
" Your father was Douglas Ramsay."
LICE BRANDON went back to Nor-
lands towards the end of August, as
^-tf^-Ja the cornfields began to golden, and the
sportsmen's guns to echo over the far-reaching
purple moorlands. And not till then did she
realize the change which had come over her
At Westwood, Janet Bruce's tenderness had
sheltered her from much that was painful in her
new position. She had not felt its loneliness.
So long as she could nestle up to some faithful
heart, and clasp a friendly hand in hers, Alice
was not unhappy. Then, too, she had not known
the pinching grip of poverty, nor been exposed to
st. olave's. 227
the altered behaviour of people who had once
courted and flattered her.
The Close families did not wish to ignore Alice,
— oh ! no, they were far too magnanimous for
that. They would even take the trouble to come
all the way across the road if they chanced to
meet her; extending to her their dainty finger
tips, and smiling with a sweet condescension,
which seemed to say, " See how compassionate we
are ; you have no position now, not the slightest
claim upon our notice, yet look, we do not scorn
you ; we are quite ready to shake hands with you
and show you how forgiving we can be to the sin
which has made you what you are." And
then with a smile and a bow they would sail
Alice had not much pride in her heart, but she
had enough to perceive this altered demeanour,
and shrink from it. By-and-by she rarely ventured
into St. Olave's, except in early morning time,
before the fashionable folks had turned out for
thsir daily airing ; or, if she chanced to meet
them, she would quietly slip aside into one of the
dim little alleys that turned out of the main
streets, and hide there until they had passed.
Soon she was completely forgotten amongst them.
They ceased to speak or think of her. As a
chance remark brought her name to the surface
of their idle gossip, it would be mentioned with
a " poor thing " sort of commiseration ; but even
this wore out at last, and ere the autumn leaves
which were to have fallen upon her bridal home
had drifted away, the memory of Alice Grey was
And so the time wore on until September, the
seventh of September, Alice's birthday, and David
Bruce's birthday, too. She remembered that
when she woke in the morning, and mingled his
name with her own in her simple prayer.
The day dawned brightly as its companion day
had dawned twelve months ago. The browning
cornfields waved in the sunshine ; the trees put on
their golden September coronals. The wold hills
and purple uplands gave Alice a greeting bright as
ever ; others might forget, but they smiled upon
her friendly still. No dainty little pink-edged
notes of congratulation came to the cottage that
day, though ; no gay ladies in cloud-tinted muslins
alighted at the garden gate with compliments and
greetings for Miss Grey ; no sumptuous luncheon
st. olave's. 229
was spread upon the lawn, and there were no
longer any dancers to the music of the itinerant
German band which came to Norlands in the
afternoon, remembering how well they had fared
there only a year ago.
Miss Luckie sent a wee little letter, half of
sympathy, half congratulation. She was confined
to her room with a sprained ancle, and could not
offer her good wishes in person. That was all the
postman brought. Not a note from Janet, nor
even — poor Alice fondly hoped he might have re-
membered her birthday as she had thought of
his — not even a line from David Bruce, to saw
that he grieved with her for the great sorrow
which had darkened all her life. Was he too
going to fail her — the strong, true, steady friend
whose very name had always been a rest ?
The morning passed wearily on. Alice had a
great pile of household linen to mend, which Mrs.
Cromarty brought in from the monthly wash.
The dainty little fingers, so long used to only
fairy-like fancy work, were growing skilful in
coarser service now. But it was a weary task after
all, for no pleasant thoughts wove themselves
into the work ; no rippling smile came and went
upon her face ; no dreams of coming joy made
music on the silence of her life any more.
Alice sighed very wearily, and pressed her fin-
gers over her aching eyeballs to keep back the
starting tears. A cool hand was laid upon her
forehead. Janet Bruce' s lips touched her own.
" Alice, I have come to spend the day with
And the kind, close, tender hand-clasp told her
all the rest. No need for spoken sympathy or
half sad congratulations ; Miss Bruce seldom gave
either. To feel her near, was quite enough for
In the afternoon they sauntered out into the
garden, and took their work into a little arbour
formed of honeysuckle and ivy, close upon the
beech tree hedge, which divided the Norlands gar-
den from the high road. It was not a day for
talking much. There was a drowsy, slumbrous
feel in the air, and to listen to the flutter of
the elm tree leaves, or the murmuring plash of
the Luthen on the rocks below, was pleasanter
than any speech.
l( Janet/'' Alice said at last, not in the old, free-
st. olave's. 231
hearted way in which she used to speak of him,
but very shyly — " This is Mr. Bruce's birthday
as well as mine. I thought of him this morning. "
Oh, how Janet wished she could tell the poor
girl that in her sorrow David had remembered her
too. But she could not say it.
" Have you heard of him lately, Janet ? "
" I have, Alice ; only a day or two ago."
" And did he — has he said anything about — did
he say he was sorry for me — does he think aboucl;
me now ? Perhaps he does not know."
"Yes, Alice, I told him, but "
If Janet Bruce had had half the tact that some
people possess, she would have called imagination
to her aid and tossed up some neat little extempore
message of kind remembrances, condolences, or
something of the sort. But Janet had no imagi-
nation, except what was strictly reined in by
truthfulness. What she knew to be truth she
spoke, and nothing more. She was grieved and
perplexed. Never before had her brother's strange
behaviour so pained her.
" He does not mention you at all. Sometimes
Davie is very silent about things that lie near to
232 st. olave's.
Alice looked away over the harvest fields.
She could see the track through which,
just twelve months ago, they two had walked
home in the quiet evening. She remembered
what he had said then, his face as he bent
down to twine those wheat ears in her hair.
Had he, too, forgotten all? Were men all
alike faithless and deceiving?
" Mr. Bruce used to be very kind to me once,"
she said, not bitterly, but with a quiet sort of
sadness ; and then she turned her face away, and
though Janet could not see them, she heard the
slow tears come falling one by one like rain drops
on the ivy leaves.
She let the young girl weep on for a while ;
then she said to her in that patient, peaceful voice
whose very tone was a benediction —
" Alice, by-and-by you will see to the end of
this ; I mean this trouble that has changed your
life so. God deals our lives out to us by a link at
a time, keeping all the rest in His own hand. What
we can do is just to wait patiently. He has pro-
mised, you know, that those who fear Him shall
not want any good thing."
" Yes. Mrs. Cromarty was reading that to me
st. olave's. 233
only this morning. I think it was out of the
Psalms. But, Janet, He is taking all my good
things away. I have nobody left now but you and
Mrs. Cromarty. Is that not wanting any good
Janet remembered the time, long ago now,
when her own heart asked the same question.
She paused for a little while. It was not her way
to speak often on religious subjects, least of all
those which touched her own past life. It cost her
very much to break through the reserve which
folded over all her inner life.
u Alice," she said reverently, " God's good
things are" sometimes very different from ours.
You know His ways are not as our ways. We
think that happiness, and home, and love, a quiet
heart and faithful friends, are good things; but
God sees that they will not always do for us, and
so instead of them He gives great pain and sor-
row. But Alice, if God sends even these, we may
be quite sure they are ( good things/ We shall
see it so by-and-by."
" I don't know," said Alice wearily. " Janet, do
you think I shall ever be happy again ?"
"Yes. God nqver spoils our lives for us. Nothing
that He sends is meant to crush us. Just the
old sort of happiness, light and unthinking and
careless, may not come back ; but instead of it we
get peace, — deep, still, unbroken peace. Alice, I
am quite sure that suffering never comes for any-
thing else than this — to make us ready for the
peace that lies beyond it."
Janet had never spoken to Alice in this way
before, never had she put aside her natural
reticence and spoken so freely of the truths which
through a long life of patient waiting, she had
learned. But listening to them, Alice felt her
soul gain strength. Perhaps it was their simple,
personal truthfulness which made them precious.
What she had known and felt, nothing but that,
Janet Bruce declared.
Preachers speak to us, out of church pulpits, of
grief; of the sorrow which, like the centaur's
poisoned tunic, clings to human life. They talk
of patience, resignation — they exhort us to suffer
out our three score years, and travel through this
lonely path meekly and without a murmur. And
then they put off their canonicals and go to their
happy firesides, where loving wives wait for them,
where child voices greet them, and soft child arms
st. olave's. 235
are stretched out to clasp them. What do they
know of sorrow ? What right have they to teach
others how to hear it ? That is the best sermon,
the most useful one, which many a suffering
woman like Janet Bruce preaches from day to day
by the silent influence of example, by little deeds
of kindness, little words of love, coming warm and
fresh from a heart which has learned from its own
grief to touch all other sorrow with gentle
After this they were silent again for a long time.
The Luthen babbled noisily on its way, slipping
from rock to rock, and weltering in mazy circles
round its tangled tresses of river weed. There
,ame from the distant cornfields the sound of
reapers' voices, the merry laugh of sunburnt girls
binding up the sheaves, or little children garland-
ing each other with the loose ears that fell from
the loaded waggons as they wound slowly through
the meadows. And, at intervals, the Cathedral bell
slowly rung out the quarters with a lazy boom that
scarcely seemed to stir the air.
Presently, upon the high road, footsteps were
heard coming nearer j and voices, or rather a voice,
for it was only one that they could hear distinctly.
The speaker was Cuthbert Scrymgeour. He
was talking in very low, gentle tones, jnst like those
which Alice Grey had learned to know so well,
whose loss left such a blank in the mnsic of her
life. The thick birch hedge hid him and his com-
panion, whoever that companion might be, from
view ; but as they passed the arbour it needed not
a very quick ear to catch those daintily-modulated
" Blanche, Blanche," that luring voice said,
u how can you doubt me ? That child only woke
a passing fancy. I never loved but you."
There was a soft, gentle, cooing reply, that only
Cuthbert Scrymgeour and the fluttering leaves
might hear. Janet took Alice's cold, nerveless
hand and led her away. For a while the poor
girl seemed stunned and bewildered. Then she
lifted her face to Janet. It was very pale, and the
sudden cramp of pain had scarce smoothed out
from the forehead.
" Janet, I thought awhile ago that Cuthbert' s
love was one of the ' good things' that God had
given me. I don't think so now."
|T was well for Alice that she had heard
those chance words. They gave her
j strength for the life that came after.
They swept away the last lingering cobwebs of
hope, and left her heart empty, and swept, and
garnished. Before that September afternoon the
thought had not quite died out, that Cuthbert
Scrymgeour might come back to her again. Her
own nature was very trusting ; she did not know
how easy it is for some people to forget. And so
long as the thought of his return was cherished,
she could not settle down patiently to the stern,
dry realities of the life that lay before her. Now
however, all was over. That short six months of
238 st. olave's.
trusting happy love must be laid quite away,
remembered no more again for ever. And though
the thought of his faithlessness came very bitterly
over her sometimes, it was better, far better, that
she should know the worst.
The pinching hand of poverty began to be
very painfully felt now in the little house at
Norlands. Punctually at the appointed time
Captain Clay's solicitor forwarded the quarterly
stipend of twelve pounds, but notwithstanding all
their care, it melted away long before the next
was due. To eke it out, Mrs. Cromarty began to
take in washing. Her fame in the getting up of
fine linen was unrivalled, and in this way she was
able to add a few shillings weekly to the little
store. She would fain have laboured morning,
noon, and night to save her young mistress from
the need of toil ; but Alice would not suffer this,
and roused herself , too, to the unwonted task of
bread- winning. She was very skilful in all kinds of
fancy work. Most of her friends — the friends who
never noticed her now — had had themselves or
their rooms decorated with some specimens of her
handiwork in the shape of embroidery or painting.
Her leather work used to be the admiration of the
Close ; shew as never tired of surprising her friends
with dainty little bouquets of flowers, modelled by
her own deft fingers, or slipping into their favourite
books the tastiest little markers of broidered silk,
or garnishing their work-baskets unawares with
pincushions of all shapes and makes. She sought
now to turn this skill to some useful purpose, by
getting orders for fancy-work from the Berlin
shops, of which there were many in St. Olave's, or
doing crochet and netted covers, which Mrs
Cromarty tried to dispose of for her. But the
profits of these things were very precarious. Often,
after she had spent days and days over some elabo-
rate cushion or anti -macassar, it would be refused
by shop after shop, and finally returned upon her
hands as unsaleable. Even when she could find a
market for her wares, the profit upon them, after
all the materials were bought and paid for, was
very small ; most of the shops got their fancy things
from Germany, and labour there was plentiful.
Then she turned her attention to fine needle-
work. Here, too, she met with but little success
There was a great surplus of female population in
St. Olave's, as, indeed, there appears to be in most
Cathedral cities ; and ladies who had nothing else
240 st. olave's.
to do with their time, gossipped it away at sewing
meetings, greatly to the detriment, not only of
private character, bnt also of the poor unfortunates
who were dependent for a livelihood on the
scanty pittance they could earn by plain sewing.
Vainly Mrs. Cromarty took the crescents and
terraces of St. Olave's by house-row, in quest of
work. The ladies preferred having their linen
made up at sewing meetings ; the work was better,
and the cost less, besides the satisfaction of en-
couraging charitable objects. Nay, even some of
the good people themselves, at whose doors Mrs.
Cromarty and others like her sought employ-
ment, were in treaty for the taking in of plain
sewing, and were open to engagements for shirt -
making at a lower figure than would remunerate
the poor sempstress who had her living to make out
of the profits.
Finding that she could gain little or nothing
by this sort of industry, Alice bethought herself of
copying music. She knew that she did it very
beautifully, quite as well as any professional hand.
David Bruce had told her that, she remembered
with a sigh. Ah ! she often thought of David
Bruce now, and longed for his strong arm to rest
st. olave's. 241
upon. But he had forgotten her in her need.
Janet rarely mentioned his name, or if Alice spoke
it herself, said little of him. Something, or some
one, had come between them. Perhaps he would
marry some dark-eyed Italian girl, or flaxen-haired
German Fraulein and she would never be remem-
bered more. The thought of this gave Alice more
pain than she cared to own.
After Mr. Bruce gave up the Cathedral organ,
his place was supplied for a month or two by a
young man from St. Olave's, until the Dean and
Chapter had time to look out for a competent
musician. They had fixed upon one at last, a
graduate from Oxford, Professor Bright. He was
dependent, as David Bruce had been, on his salary,
but he lived in lodgings, and had no one but himself
to support, so that he was not so straitened as the
Westwood people were on their first arrival.
Moreover, he brought one or two good introductions
with him, which set him afloat at once amongst
the Close families, and gave him standing room in
one of the front apartments of the social edifice.
He was a clever little man, tolerably fond of his
profession, though not bringing to it the love and
VOL. III. R
242 st. olave's.
reverence — to say nothing of the genius — which
David Bruce did.
To Professor Bright, therefore, Alice went,
taking with her some specimens of her skill in
this department of art. He was a stranger, and
had not known her in the days of her prosperity,
or perhaps she dare not have faced his questions
and criticisms. He received her kindly. The
help which she could afford would he really valua-
ble to him — though the Professor was too much a
man of the world to let her know that — and he
made an arrangement with her to copy out the
chants used hy the choristers in their daily prac-
tice. He agreed to give her sixpence a page for all
that she did for him. If he could have supplied
her with work enough to keep her continually
employed, she might have earned a considerable
sum in this way; hut the amount of copy re-
quired was uncertain. Sometimes for a week or
two together, no new chants or anthems were in-
troduced, and then she was thrown back upon
her scanty supply of needlework. However she
toiled on patiently, and at last her own earnings,
with those of Mrs. Cromarty, and the stipend
furnished by Captain Clay, sufficed to keep them
st. olaye's. 243
from actual want. Of the future, the long, dark,
dreary future which lay before her, — of the time
when Mrs. Cromarty or Janet Bruce might be
parted from her, Alice dared not think. She
began to learn the invaluable art of taking " short
views/' and suffered the morrow to take thought
When Alice came to Norlands, from Westwood,
she brought with her all Mrs. EdenalFs property,
in the shape of clothes, books, jewellery, &c. There
was also the desk in which Mrs. Edenall kept her
papers, but into this, as yet, Alice had not had
courage to look. Indeed, that relationship scarce
appeared to be a real thing. She thought of it
with a dim, misty sort of bewilderment. Even the
graves ot her parents at Norlands, those nameless
mounds greening day by day in the sunshine, had
no memories for her, and woke no tears. All of
love and tenderness that she could remember,
clustered round Mrs. Amiel Grey, the Aunt Amiel
of that old happy time ; and to her stately marble
canopied tomb in St. Olave's cathedral, Alice
never dared to go now.
From time to time there came to Westwood
tidings of David Bruce, but no word of his return
244? st. olave's.
home; and, stranger still, no mention of Alice.
He was making himself a great name in the musical
world. Sundry of the upper ten of St. Olave's,
who had been touring it on the Continent, came
back with glowing accounts of the distinction with
which their old fellow-citizen as everywhere re-
ceived. He was now residing at Munich, where he
had made his first public appearance abroad. He
devoted himself heart and soul to his profession,
and his musical reputation was yielding him
a goodly harvest of wealth as well as popularity.
He never told Janet much of his successes, but
she heard of them through the leading musical
journals of the day, which were proud enough to
chronicle the triumphs of British genius in the
fastidious circles of Continental elite. He seldom
mentioned the past either now, and the little
inquiries about St. Olave's and its concerns,
which once showed how tenderly he remembered
the place, were gradually ceasing. His letters
were chiefly occupied with details of his daily
home life, sketches of Continental scenery, or
anecdotes of the distinguished people with whom
he mixed. And for her own part, Janet confined
herself to Westwood news. After that first letter
in which he had so studiously ignored the mention
of Alice and her affairs, his sister had taken the
hint and given him no further information re-
specting her. And so that friendship, with all
both of joy and disappointment that it had
brought, seemed to be finally wound up. Janet
could not account for her brother's silence, but
she had unbounded faith in his truth, and she
waited for time to solve the mystery.
In December, the Cathedral bells rang
out a merry peal, and carriages with outriders in
scarlet liveries and white satin favours careered
hither and thither across the quiet Close. The
marriage of Cuthbert Scrymgeour and Miss
Egerton was the great event of the St. Olave's
season. People said it was the most elegant wed-
ding that had taken place in the Close since the
late Bishop's daughter was married, thirty years
ago, to the eldest son of Lord Granby. Very
magnificent the bride looked in her trailing gar-
ments of white satin, with a wreath of lotus
flowers crowning her braided hair, and a Honiton
lace veil softening the lustre of her Spanish
beauty. The ceremony was performed in the
Cathedral by the Lord Bishop of St. Olave's
246 st. olave's.
himself, Dr. Standish ; Professor Bright presiding
at the organ, and the singers performing a ful
choral service. A beautiful wedding, people
said it was, and very stately, as befitted every-
thing conducted by Mrs. Archdeacon Scrym-
The bride and groom spent their honeymoon in
Rome, staying for a week in Paris as they came
home. On their return, the Close was all alive for
a few weeks with bridal parties, balls, suppers,
dinners, assemblies, in fact a Festival on a small
scale. After New Year's Eve, Mr. and Mrs.
Cuthbert settled down to the cure of souls at
Grassthorpe Rectory, and things came back to
their old track. The Close turned itself over and
went to sleep as soundly as ever ; the saints and
martyrs on the Cathedral front donned their
nightcaps of snow, and the whole place resumed
its staid, hoary stillness.
Alice knew that the marriage was to take
place ; but when and where, she had not heard.
That very morning she came to the Cathedral
with some chants which she had been copying for
Professor Bright. She had hurried to get there
before morning service began, and the Close
st. olave's. 247
people were about. Generally at that hour of the
day scarce a footstep disturbed the hush of the
place, but to her surprise the nave this morning
was scattered with groups of idlers who gradually
formed themselves into a line between the long
range of pillars that led to the choir entrance.
She took her roll of music to the organist and was
paid for it.
" What does the crowd mean, Smith ?" she
asked of the bellows-man, who stood at the door
of his little den.
u It's a wedding, Miss. I thought all the
place would ha' knowed ; the Rev. Mr. Scrym-
geour and Miss Egerton. Whisht, stand back,
here's the procession a cominV
" Alice had just time to retreat within the nar-
row doorway, ere a dozen snowdrifts in the shape
of as many bridesmaids,, in tulle veils and flowing
robes of muslin, came fluttering past her ; then
there was a murmur of excitement amongst the
ladies, and presently Blanche Egerton, in all
the splendour of her brunette beauty floated up
the broad aisle, leaning on the arm of the mil-
lionaire grandsire, whose scrip and three-per-cents
had won her the position which she graced so well.
248 st. olave's.
Her dark eyes gleamed through the lace that
veiled her like a mist, there was a scarlet flush on
her cheek, and with every step the lotus
blossoms in her hair shook out a waft of perfume.
As the procession moved slowly up the choir, a
burst of jubilant musicpealed forth from the organ.
" Please to let me pass/' Alice said, opening the
little door through whose chinks she had watched
the fairy-like vision. It was Mrs. Bullens, whose
portly figure barred the way.
" Dearie me, won't ye stop, and see ; em come
out ? They say the bridegroom's beautiful, such
a handsome man V
" Please let me pass/' said Alice, again,
She pulled her crape veil down over her face,
and hurried through the gaping throng. No one
took any notice of her ; or if they did, thought
that she might be some milliner's apprentice, who
had just darted in to see the show, and was afraid
of being late at her work.
She went through the little west door that led
into the Close, the nearest way to Norlands Lane ;
passing on her way the gates of the Old Lodge,
from which she once thought to have passed, a
st. olave's. 249
bride. Poor Alice ! and it was only a twelve-
month this very day, since Cuthbert Scrymgeour
in that little wainscotted room, whose mullioned
window she conld see through the trees, had
claimed her for his wife.
WHOLE year dragged slowly,
wearily on. Then David Bruce
came home. He sent no word
of his coming. He would fain steal quietly
into the old city ; and, even before any home-
greeting had been given him; wander unre-
cognized once more, and perhaps for the last time,
round its old familiar haunts. After that, if Janet
wished it, they would go away. The place could
be home to him no more now ; and he knew how
silently she longed for their own country, for the
old Court House at Perth, with its dark pine-
woods, its outlook over the green and pleasant
Inches, its friendships buried, but not forgotten,
its memories that could never die. Yes, they
would go to Scotland again, and lie down to rest
amidst the heather and the blue-bells. Only one
more look at the old Cathedral city before it was
left for ever.
He reached St. Olave's in the dim grey twilight
of a January afternoon. He left his luggage at
the station, and sauntered slowly through the
narrow, well-remembered streets. With a strange
yet not all-painful feeling, he found himself once
more beneath the quaint overhanging houses,
with their black timber fronts and pointed gables.
He turned his steps into the Cathedral Close. The
swarthy Minster towers loomed grimly out upon
the darkening sky ; with just the old weird,
spirit-like wail, the wind came swooping down
through the belfry windows. In the half-dark of
early evening, no one recognized him — indeed, had
it been broad daylight, few would have found in
that bronzed and bearded stranger, with his foreign
garb and lofty mien, much to remind them of the
somewhat uncouth David Bruce, whom they had
known two years ago.
Lights were shining out from some of the Close
houses. The Bullenses were having a grand party,
252 st. olave's.
chiefly merchant people from Millsmany — for they
had not yet overcome the prejudices of the Close
families — to celebrate the coming of age of the
youngest son. The rooms were brilliantly illuminat-
ed ; any passer-by might have heard strains of merry
dance music, or, peering through the transparent
lace curtains which draped the open windows,
caught stray glimpses of ball-dresses all the colours
of the rainbow, flashing hither and thither.
David Bruce paused for awhile at the little gate
which led out of the Lodge garden into the Close.
The old porter who kept the boundaries was
sauntering about, on the look-out for strangers.
He sometimes earned a sixpence or two by giving
them scraps of information about the Cathedral, or
explaining the meaning of the grotesque figures
that gaped down from the gurgoyles. David
stopped, and entered into conversation with him.
" The Old Lodge appears to have changed hands
' * ' Deed, sir, an' it has," replied the old man,
looking keenly at him through his round spectacles.
" Then ye're happen not a stranger i J the place. I
took ye for one o' the folk fra furrin parts. We
gets a sight o* furriners down here, sir."
st. olave's. 253
u Iam not a foreigner/' said Mr. Bruce, " and
I do not belong to St. Olave's ; but I know a little
of tlie city. Who occupies the Old Lodge now ?"
" It's let, sir, to some people they call Bullens,
cotton folk, sir, fra Millsmany," and the old man
looked scornful ; he had the genuine St. Olave's
blood in him. " They've a vast o' money, sir, but
they ain't got no pedigree, and folks as hasn't got
no pedigree isn't much thought on i 9 this here.
The Bullenses has riz theirselves i' the world wi'
cotton. The house were let, sir, when t' young
leddy went away ; there's been a vast o' changes
of a late i' the Old Lodge, sir, but happen ye know
" Yes, said David, bitterly. " Mrs. Scrym-
geour lives at Chapter House yet, I suppose ?"
" Ay, marry, an' that she does. I reckon the
Archdeacon's widdy thinks t' Minster couldn't
hold itself together if she wasn't nigh hand to give
an eye to it. But she goes a good bit to Grass-
thorpe now, that's where her newy lives parson.
You mind, maybe, she's got kin i' the Church."
" Yes, so I have heard. He is lately married is
" Ay, sir, nobbut a year ago. She wer?
over here last Monday was a week, and rare
and viewly she looked. She's a beautiful young
lady is Mrs. Cuthbert, and folks say she thinks all
the world of her husband ; but then, sir, he's so
handsome ; laws he's the handsomest man ever I
see'd, and them's the sort as wins young leddies.
It ain't inflect, nor a true heart, nor a bonnie
temper as does it now-a-days, but just good looks.
But they're well matched for she's as sweet a
lady as ye need wish to set eyes on, is Mrs. Cuth-
Alice, Mrs. Cuthbert. There was no more Alice
Grey for David now, only " Mrs. Cuthbert."
What a chilly feel it had, to hear those two little
words spoken out loud, though he had said them
over and over in his thoughts until they seemed
familiar as household^ words. "Mrs. Cuthbert."
But the old man chattered on, stopping now and
then to take a pinch of snuff out of the pocket of
his rusty waistcoat.
" Folks says she'll have a sight o' money. Mrs.
Archdeacon wouldn't let her nevvy marry nobody
as hadn't a big purse. He's a deal thought of
about here, is Mr. Scrymgeour, 'cause he reads the
prayers so beautiful j bless ye, sir, it's every bit
st. olave's. 255
as good as singing, the way he does 'em, wi' sich
an air and such beautiful moves as makes all the
young leddies i' the choir look at him instead o'
keepin' agate wi' their prayer-books. He's goin'
to do 'em to-morrow mornin' sir, cause of it bein'a
Saint day, an' there's a dealo' extra singin' at sich
times, more as I take it than God Almighty makes
much count on ; but other folks knows better 'n
me. I goes to the prayers reg'lar myself, but
they ain't much yield's ever I see. Maybe ye
wouldn't like me to show ye round the place, sir,
it's light enough yet to see a good bit. A gentle-
man gived me sixpence nobbut yesterday for
showin' him the statties up o' the west front."
David slipped a shilling into the old man's
hand, but declined being shown round the building.
" She thinks all the world of him." Well^that was
just as it should be. He ought to have felt very
glad to hear it, but somehow the gladness was not
forthcoming. It was getting dark now, and he
strode fiercely across the Close, as though tramp-
ling down the bitter memories that rose. By the
time he reached Westwood Lane, night had fallen,
and with a pleasant friendly glow the lights of
Westwood Cottage, his old home, flickered
256 st. olave's.
through the leafless branches of the chestnut and
Not fiercely now, but with slow, gentle footsteps,
stooping down now and then to mark how the little
snow-drops were pushing their white faces through
the grass, he crossed the path and went round to
the side door.
Tibbie was sitting with her knitting by the
kitchen fire. She heard some one coming, and
taking up her little oil lamp, opened the door cau-
tiously, for she had a genuine national aversion to
" fremd folk," as she called them ; and except the
postman, milkman, and an odd vagrant or two,
masculine footsteps were seldom heard on that
She did not wait to hear the stranger's errand,
but holding the lamp so that its rays fell full upon
his bearded face, she said in not the gentlest of
1 ' Gin ye be speerin' for my leddie, she's no' in,
the nicht ; ye may ca' again i' the morn." And
then she was about to shut the door in his face.
David Bruce lifted his eyes to her with the look
that used to be like sunshine in that home.
" Tibbie, do ye no ken me ?"
Down went the lamp, oil and everything, on
the clean stone flags.
" Sure ! it's Maister Davit come home agin \"
she said, shaking her blue check apron vehemently,
as though setting away a brood of chickens ; — it
was an outlet she had for expressing her feelings
when they became too intense for words — (< Its
Maister Davit come home ! Eh, but," and the old
woman peered up into his travel-worn face with
its new garniture, " Fm thinkin' ye're no ken-
speckle to the maister as went awa', wi' a' thae
hairy duds upo' the front o' ye. Come yer' ways
ben/' and picking up the prostrate lamp, she led
the way into the parlour.
w Miss Janet's awa' sin' the morn, I didna' just
speer at her whar she would gang, but I'm thinkin'
she's visitin' upon her that was Miss Alice Grey .
There's no Miss Grey the noo, Maister Davit;
happen ye ken that."
" Yes, Tibbie, I have heard it."
That was all David Bruce said, but the voice
was tired and faint-like, and as he said it he leaned
wearily against the mantel-piece.
" Ye're outworn the nicht, Maister," said Tibbie,
bustling about, first in quest of his slippers, which
VOL. III. s
258 st. olave's.
kept their old place in the corner closet, then to
fetch his loose coat and some cushions for the great
chair which she drew to the fireside. " Will I
get yon the tea, and will ye he for scones or oat
" When I'm rested, Tibbie, not now. I just
want to be quiet. "
" Ou ay, ye were aye for quietness, and I'll no
keep ye back from it. Maybe ye'il just gang to
sleep a wee bittie while Miss Janet comes hanie.
An* will I bring ye the licht, or ye'U bide yer lane
i' the gloamin'. Ye were fond o' the gloamin',
" And I think the gloamin' is fond of me, Tibbie.
No, I won't have the lamp, thank you; and don't
let me keep you away from your knitting any
She left him, giving an eye first round the
little room to see that all was tidy. But, before
she finally shut the door, she stood on the
threshold a moment or two for a leisurely view
of him — just an honest, faithful, affectionate look
at the maister, who had been " aye glide to
her sin' he was a wee bit laddie i' the Pairth
st. olave's. 259
" He's unco' still the nicht," she said to her-
self, when she was once more settled down by the
kitchen fire with her knitting — " He's unco' still
the nicht. I'm thinkin' some o' thae foreign
lasses has cast the glamour over him, and we'll
be havin' a weddin' afore lang. He needna have
sought so far for a bride, if bonnie Miss Alice —
bless her ! — had held her ain a wee bit langer.
He'd no have cast her off for want o' the siller,
as yon fair-faced Southron has done."
Meanwhile, Janet Bruce was making her way
home, slowly and thoughtfully, from the cottage
HEN Tibbie had gone, David sat
p down in tlie great chair, which
she had drawn to the fire, and his
eye slowly wandered over the familiar little room
with the restful look of one who comes home
again after long absence. Nothing in it was
changed from that other night, two years ago
now, when he had returned from London, flushed
with success and full of bright expectancy. The
success was his still, proud as ever it had been,
bnt the hope was away.
Tibbie had tidied up the room a little while
before, ready for Janet's return. The firelight
skimmed daintily over the silver-traceried paper,
st. olave's. 26 1
and pencilled out upon the white blind the deli-
cate outline of the ivy leaves, which, winter and
summer, Janet always kept in the little vase
upon the window-seat. His music table stood
in the corner, by the piano, with writing mate-
rials and manuscripts upon it, just as he used to
leave them when he was busy over the copying out
of " Jael;" and beside them was Janet's work-
basket, with the perennial little half-finished sock,
and her favourite book, " Thoughts of Peace/'
lying on the top, as she had left them when she
went out. Even the great arm-chair where he
was sitting — there was a thin place on the horse-
hair covering of one of the arms — how well he
remembered, that dim November afternoon before
he went to London, how Alice had sat beside him
on the footstool, and amused herself by pulling
out the long hairs and plaiting them into fanciful
knots, as she leaned her head down upon his
knee. Now that bright head had another resting-
place. Alice — " Mrs. Cuthbert Scrymgeour."
David turned sharply round, so that he might not
see the worn place. What a different coming
home this was ! Placing side by side the David
Bruce of to-night and the David Bruce of two
2C>2 ST. OLAVE'S.
years ago, he scarce could know them for the
What a strange collection that would be, if one
could gather together the cast-off garments which
the soul has worn ! — the vestures of old hopes,
joys, longings, which clothed us once, but have
been clutched away by the iron-strong fingers of
Fate, or rent by the thorns of disappointment, or
have fallen from us, piecemeal, as the years went
on. Ah ! how we should weep to meet them
again, and handle their tattered shreds, and re-
member how brave they once were ! After all,
who knows but, in some yet undiscovered limbo
of this wide universe, there may be a collection
of this sort? — a rag fair of spiritual garments,
niched from souls as they jostle through the
crowded highways and byways of life. There is
the white robe of baby innocence, unstained yet
by thought or deed of wrong; the vesture of the
child-heart, gay and gladsome, wrought like
Joseph's coat of many colours — like Joseph's
coat, too, torn often by some wild beast of the
forest ; the blood-red robe of passion, the jewel -
broidered garb of love, the winding-sheet wherein
some dead hope was buried ; the shroud, stained
st. olaye's. 263
over with tears,, that wrapped a joy too bright to
last. A grewsome array, truly; and ever the
spoiler's hand filches fresh treasures and lays
them there, until at last the years go on no
more, and the whole company of Christ's faithful
people find themselves robed for ever in the white
raiment, clean and fine, which no spoiler's hand
can touch; the brightness of whose purity no
taint of sin shall find leave to mar.
Thinking, perhaps, such thoughts as these,
David Bruce did not hear footsteps in the room,
nor did he know that any one was there, until
two white trembling hands were laid upon his
" Brother Davie ! "
He turned quickly round. There was no tumul-
tuous greeting between them, no glowing outburst
of delight. The past had held too much of sorrow
for that. Just one close, loving hand-clasp, one
long look of trusty friendship — so they met after
that weary parting.
David stirred the fire into a blaze; then
putting off Janet's bonnet, and smoothing back
the bands of her glossy black hair, he held her to
him, and looked tenderly down into the pale face
264 st. olave's.
that was uplifted to his. A little paler, perhaps,
than when he saw it last, but just as quiet ; telling
no story of the deaths upon which it had gazed,
nor the bitter conflict which had passed over the
soul within. Years hence, lying in coffined rest,
Janet Bruce's face could wear a smile no
David was more changed. Two years of foreign
travel had somewhat remoulded his garb and
aspect. He had now the bold, upright, majestic
port of a man accustomed to face the world and
command its homage ; the port of a man who has
made his own place, and stands in it as a king
should stand. A curling beard and moustache hid
the worn, sharp lines of the lower part of his face,
and covered the mouth, which wore an expression
somewhat bitter now, — bitterer than it used to
be in those first years of disappointment and
He drew the little low chair near to his, and
then they sat down hand in hand, heart to heart,
just as in the old long-ago time.
" I did not think to find you gone, Jean ;
you were aye content to sit by your ain ingle
st. olave's. 265
" I don't often leave it, Davie, but sometimes it's
dree work sitting my lane at nights. I — I had
gone to see Alice."
Janet spoke this last sentence hesitatingly,
looking np to her brother's face the while for
some touch of grieving sadness. But she looked
in vain. The lips only took a sterner bend, the
light that gleamed out from the deep-set grey
eyes grew colder.
Janet was perplexed, disappointed. She had
never found him wanting in tenderness before.
She had thought, she had almost hoped, that his
first question would be for Alice. So earnest was
the sympathy of her unselfish heart, that she
could have given up even her own blessed birth-
right of sisterly ministration, so that this desolate,
unprotected girl might find shelter in his faithful
" Oh." he said by-and-by, " if you have been
there, you are home early j it is a long ride, I
suppose." And then, after a pause, in which he
seemed to be tracking out some painful thought —
" Janet, we have no one but each other now j
no one but each other."
He leaned his cheek down upon her hand, and
206 st. olave's.
there fell a long silence between them. Janet did
not care to break it by any trifling inquiries
about his journey, or what had befallen him during
those dreary years of separation. That she
was sitting by his side again, that she could hold
his hand in hers, and look up into his face, was
enough for her.
That grand still face ; it had settled down now
into the habitual melancholy of one for whom the
best of life is passed ; it had the worn look which
mental suffering or anxiety of any kind continually
chiselling at the features, gives. Nevertheless
David Bruce, take him altogether, was what the
world calls a line-looking man, a very fine-looking
man. And his was the handsomeness which
would increase, not decline with coming years.
w Janet," he said at last, in rather an abrupt,
grating voice, " Janet, would you like to go away
from St. Olave's ? "
« How, brother Davie ? "
" I mean, how would you like to go back into
Scotland, quite away from here? You know 1
am rich now, rich at least in money and position,"
and there was a harsh ring in his voice which
Janet had never heard before. " I could buy back
the Court House at Perth, and you could live in
the old home again, just at we used to do years
and years ago. Then we would try to put away
everything that has happened here ; just lay these
two years of our lives to rest."
" How would you like it, Davie ? "
il I don't say anything about what I would like,
I just ask you, will you go ? "
Janet turned her face from him into the shadow.
She was silent for a moment or two, not more.
The thought of Alice, desolate and unfriended,
came first into her heart. Whilst she lived, the
child of him whom she had loved so truly, should
never be left alone. But she did not tell her
brother that. She gave him her answer calmly,
without a quiver or a tremble in her voice. Once
more lifting her face to his, she said : —
" Brother Davie, two years ago I would
have liked fine to go back to the old home, and
the old friends. But now, wherever Douglas
Ramsay's grave is, is home to me, and I'll even
stay by it till I die."
EXT morning David and Janet Bruce
went together to the morning prayers.
Janet took her usual place near what
used to be Mistress Amiel Grey's stall, and David
went into the organist's pew. A stranger occupied
it now, but Mr. Brace's card was a passport where -
ever its owner presented it.
David's heart beat quickly as he ascended the
stair, and passed into the little well-remembered
sanctum. Verily St. Olave's was no place to wipe
out old associations. The ruling spirit of conser-
vatism kept everything in just the old track.
Not a change had been made in the grey, dusty
Cathedral since the last afternoon when Mr,
st. olave's. 269
Bruce officiated there, the afternoon when Lettice
had come to summon him to Mistress Amiel
Grey's bedside. As she told him Alice's message,
he had unwittingly grasped one of the delicately
carved oaken bosses of the canopy, and a leaf
broke off in his hand. The gap was there still,
broidered over now with a lacework of cobwebs,
and the fragment of carving lay on the projecting
capital of a pillar near by, untouched ; one might
tell that by the dust which lay so thick upon it.
There were the old prayer and chant -books, with
their brown, worm-eaten leather binding sending
out a musty, century-old smell into the little
chamber ; and there was the rent in the crimson
curtains through which Alice had peered down,
that long ago morning, to watch Mrs. Edenall
pace, in grave, queen-like majesty, up the broad
Professor Bright wished his distinguished visitor
to take the musical part of the service, but David
declined, and promised instead, to play the con-
cluding voluntary. Whilst the organist chose out
the anthems, he leaned over the curtain and
watched the people assemble. Not much change
in them either. The almsfolk came first, accord-
ing to old regulations. Time had dealt gently
with them, neither adding starch to Betsy DowhVs
fiimping cap borders nor wrinkles to Mrs. Marris's
smooth, well-kept face. Martin Speller limped
up to his seat with just the same defiant sort of
air ; and the smile on Ruth Cane's sightless face,
as she uplifted it to the organ, had neither waned
nor deepened. Then the Close families took their
places in the cushioned stalls, those stiff old
maiden ladies who seemed carved in oak, as brown
and unyielding as the canopies beneath which
they knelt to perform their devotions. By-and-
by a rustle of stiff black silk made— not music
exactly, but something slightly the reverse — out-
side the choir. It was Mrs. Scrymgeour. No
dresses spoke so noisily as hers of the ecclesias-
tical dignity which they enfolded.
With a sickening sort of suspense, David Bruce
waited for her to appear at the choir entrance,
which was just under the organ. She came in
sight at last, accompanied by —
No, that could not be her niece, Mrs. Cuthbert!
The lady who followed in the wake of Mrs.
Scrymgeour's dignity was a tall, proud, elegant-
looking woman, in a scarlet cloak and velvet hat.
st. olave's. 271
A friend, perhaps, who was staying at Grassthorpe.
There was no need for Alice to come to the Cathedral
now to hear the music of her husband's voice, or,
perhaps, even already it had lost its charm, and
she cared no longer to listen to it as once she
The service began. Cuthbert read it in magni-
ficent style, making the choir ring with his
melodious tones, now clear and resonant as a
trumpet's silver sound, now tender as the wail of
broken hearted penitence. Heaven forgive David
Bruce if the words woke not much music in his
soul; if, as he bowed his face upon his hands
through those daintily chanted prayers, quite
other thoughts than any which belonged to them
swept over him. Yet who shall say that these
thoughts were not prayers too ?
The service was over. The Dean and Canon
Hewlet, preceded by the choristers and surpliced
clergy, filed slowly out beneath the richly-carved
organ screen. Mr. Bruce took his place at the organ
to play the people out. But they recognized the
master hand, and would not be played out ; at any
rate, not until the music ceased. He began the over-
ureto "Jael." The vergers bustled about and clear-
ed the choir, for the Cathedral rules ordered that it
should be locked within twenty minutes after the
close of each service; but the people clustered
round the organ stair and about the nave, listening
in eager, speechless interest to the magician who
poured over them such wondrous strains of
Mr. Bruce was still playing, when there came a
gentle knock at the door of the organ pew.
" It's the young lady, sir, as copies for you,"
said the bellows-blower, reaching out from his
recess, and opening the door. " Is she to come
in ? »
" No, I am engaged with this gentleman, and
cannot see Miss Brandon now. She must come
again in the afternoon."
H Pray don't let me interfere with any engage-
ments. Perhaps it may be inconvenient to the
young person to call again. Has she come from
far?" said David.
" Only from Norlands, a matter of three miles
or so, and I daresay she is a good walker. But
if you don't object I'll see her and have done with
it. Smith, tell the young person to come in."
She came. David turned for a moment, and
saw that the visitor was a girl dressed in deep and
somewhat rusty mourning. He resumed his
playing, and gave no heed to the conversation
which went on between them.
" I have brought the music, Mr. Bright. Will
it be convenient to pay me for it this morning ? It
is two months now since I brought back the last
The voice was scarcely more than a whisper, so
low that through the music David did not hear
" I think you must call again. Fve only a
sovereign in my purse, and I suppose you can't
" No, sir ; but if you like I will go out and
bring some silver. It will not take me long."
" Longer though than I care to wait. Excuse
my interrupting you, Mr. Bruce, but could you
accommodate us ? This young person seems anxious
to be paid."
Was it something in her attitude and bearing,
or was it the single curl creeping out from the
curtain of her crape bonnet, that reminded Mr •
Bruce of Alice Grey ? He could not see her face
for she had shrunk behind a stone pillar and was
vol. in. T
274 st. olave's.
looking into the choir, bending far down over the
curtain. He only noticed that her hand trembled
very much as Professor Bright put the money
into it. He turned to the organ again.
" I am sorry to tell you, Miss Brandon/' said
the organist, " that I shall not require your ser-
vices any longer. One of the choristers offered
only yesterday to undertake the copying in return
for extra musical instruction. You have always
managed it very well, but my salary obliges
me to be economical, and there is at present
no allowance for the transcribing of the church
music. I need not detain you any longer, I be-
lieve you will find the money I have given you
quite right. Good morning, Miss Brandon. I
shall be happy to recommend you in case you
should apply for other employment of the same
There was just a low quick gasping breath.
She turned towards the door, but her hand shook
so that she could scarcely open it.
" Allow me," said Mr. Bruce, coming forward.
He was not much of a ladies' man in a general
way, but he was always ready to give help when it
was needed : and he remembered of old that the door
st. olave's. 275
of the organ pew had a private theory of its own
about opening and shutting. Before he could
reach it though, she had pulled it open with a
desperate effort, and was away down the narrow
" Nice copying that, isn't it, for a woman ?" said
Professor Bright, throwing the manuscript care-
lessly upon the music desk as David finished his
overture. " The young lady does it for a living.
She has seen better days, and I suppose doesn't
like the publicity of going out governessing."
It was strangely like those manuscripts of
Alice Grey's, which were treasured so carefully in
David's portfolio ; the same clear round notes, the
same finely-formed strokes and sharp Italian hand.
He scanned it earnestly.
" It is not often non-professionals copy so well
as this, but perhaps the young lady teaches
' ' No, I don't fancy she is equal to that. An
old fellow who lives in the College Yard here,
taught her ; and then she is dainty rather in
everything she does. You would notice that from
her dress. Poor girl, I'm sorry not to keep on
employing her, but you see I must consider my
276 st. olave's.
own pocket. The salary here is so very small."
David could quite understand that ; he remem-
bered the time when sixpence a sheet for music
copying was more than he could afford to pay.
" I don't know if you are aware of the facts/'
continued Professor Bright, packing the music
away along with the rest of the chants. "You
have been absent from St. Olave's some time, have
you not ? n
"Not quite two years."
" Ah, well, then the affair has taken place since
you left. The young lady's name is Brandon,
and she lives up at Norlands, in a little cottage
that stands alone before you come to the village."
" The house formerly occupied by Mistress
Amiel Grey ?"
" The same. You remember the old lady then ?
I don't. I believe she died some time before
I came to the organ, but I've heard a great deal
about her — high family, courtly manners, all that
sort of thing, I suppose, that people make so much
of here. She had a niece, at least so it was
" Yes, Miss Alice Grey. When I left St.
Olave's, she was on the point of marriage to a
st. olave's. 277
clergyman. I presume she is now Mrs. Cuthbert
Scrymgeour, of Grassthorpe Rectory."
David Bruce forced himself to say this in a
matter of fact, business like sort of way.
The Professor laughed a little, short, good-tem-
" Points are dangerous things, Mr. Bruce, and
people slip off them sometimes. So did the young
lady in question. The fact is, things turned out
very awkwardly. She was found not to be a niece
of Mrs. Grey's at all, but an illegitimate child of
some person, a woman named Brandon, living in
St. Olave's. I forget the name her mother went
under, being, as I said before a stranger here.
Of course, when the truth came out, she had no
claim to the property, and the heir-at-law, a Cap-
tain Clay, from abroad, took it all, every penny,
but a little stipend which he allows herjusttokeep
her from absolute starvation."
David Bruce's control served him well. His
voice changed not from its old steady tones as he
remarked : —
ff That was unfortunate, very. But the mar-
" Dropped through; blew over ; came to nothing.
278 st. olave's.
Painful thing for Mr. Scrymgeour, but of course
he broke it off at once, as soon as ever the facts
got out. You know it would never do for a man
in his position to marry a — well a girl without
ever a rag of respectability about her/''
David Bruce smiled. A quiet smile, very, just
rippling up to the deep set grey eyes, and moisten-
ing them with what might be tears, or possibly a
twinkle of humour. Professor Bright thought it
was the latter.
"You're smiling. I daresay you imagine it
was the money more than the respectability that
made the gentleman take fright. Well, I won't
say which it was. At all events his affections
were not deeply blighted, for six months after, he
married a young lady, the belle of the Close,
Blanche Egerton, a splendid brunette, with
the most magnificent eyes you ever saw, and such
hair ! She came in with the Archdeacon's widow
to the prayers this morning. You would see
her, I daresay, in a scarlet cloak and black
" Yes, and Alice — I mean Miss Brandon?"
" Lives up at Norlands, as I told you. Nobody
takes any notice of her now, of course. Captain
st. olave's. 279
Clay lets her have the house for nothing, and she
ekes out her allowance by working for the shops
and copying music. Starving sort of thing, I
should fancy "
David turned abruptly to the organ. A few
quick, passionate chords, full of fiery vehemence,
and then that old Cathedral rang with such a peal
of jubilant harmony, as had never before echoed
through its long aisles of clustered columns. On
and on he played, his whole soul pouring itself
out upon the music. His face grew bright with
the triumph shining through; his whole form
seemed to heighten and dilate with a strange
majesty. Hope, joy, tenderness, longing, all
spoke out in that wondrous melody. It was
David Brace's "Te Deum," the outburst of a
prayer which no words could speak.
Suddenly the music ceased. Without a word of
farewell to the astonished Professor, Mr. Bruce
took up his hat and gloves and hurried away. It
had been whispered about in the city that the
great composer had come back, and was now
playing at the Cathedral, and hundreds of people
were clustering round the organ, listening to the
wondrous music, or waiting to catch a sight of
280 st. olave's.
the performer. But he pressed through them all,
giving no glance of recognition to the smiles which
were poured on him from many a fair face.
Right onward he steered his way, until he reached
the little door that led out from the west end
into the Close. There Janet was waiting for
He took her hand in his, and hurried her away
out into the quiet Close, past the grim, aristo-
cratic old houses, and shady little back terraces,
never slackening his pace until they reached
Westwood Lane, where not a footstep save their
own was to he heard.
" Janet," he began, and now the first gush of
excitement spent, his voice was very feeble, his
face deathly pale, " Janet, why did you not tell
me of this ? Why did you keep it from me V 3
" What, Davie V 3 she said, quietly.
" About Alice," and Janet felt the hand
that held hers tighten its grasp almost to pain.
" I did write you all about it," she said, " and
sent the letter to you to Leipsic."
" How long back ? 33
"This is January. I sent it a year ago last
st. olave's. 281
" That explains it. I left Leipsic early in August
just after I had got the letter in which you said
that she was to be married in a few days.
Janet_, if you knew what the time since then has
Janet knew somewhat of its hardness, from
the lines it had graven on her brother's face.
" Who has told you now, Davie ?"
" She came into the organ pew whilst I was
there. A poor little trembling thing. I don't
know if she knew me again, but she did not speak
to me, and I did not recognize her, for the
organist called her Brandon. She had come to
bring some copied music that he pays her to do,
and the poor child sighed so wearily when he told
her she was not to have any more. After she was
gone he told me who she was, and that Cuthbert
Scrymgeour had cast her off because she had
neither name nor fortune to give him."
" Did he tell you any more than this ?"
" Only that instead of being Mistress Amiel
Grey's niece, she was the daughter of a person
named Brandon, and that she was left almost
entirely dependent upon her own exertions. Tell
me all about it, Janet."
282 st. olave's.
They had reached the cottage now. They
went into the little parlour, and there sitting
together hand in hand, they talked over all the
past. Janet told him, in her plain matter of fact
way, the story of Alice's birth and parentage,
as she had had it partly from Alice's own lips,
and partly from Mrs. Cromarty.
' c Last time I wrote to you, David, I told you
about Douglas Ramsay's death, and Mrs. Eden-
all's, but no more than that. I knew you had
much to weary you, and to have said it all could
do you no good."
David pressed his sister's band. She went
" I was sitting by her the night they brought
her home dead, and Mrs. Cromarty came into
the room. She told me she had seen her before,
that she had lived maid with her when she was
a child, and that her real name was Brandon,
Marian Brandon. When she was very young
she eloped from her father's house with a stranger
who professed to marry her."
" Ha !" said D>avid, " and Alice is their child.
Is it so ?"
" Stay, brother, I have not told you all. This
st. olave's. 283
stranger wronged her very much. He took her
into Germany, and there deserted her. She
came home, a poor, miserable outcast, in time to
see her father die ; then her child was born, and
she became insane. This stranger, brother Davie,
was Douglas Ramsay/'
" Jeanie, my poor sister Jeanie \" and David
Bruce drew the pale face down to his breast.
Janet let it rest there for awhile ; then raised it
and went on calmly as ever.
" There were no witnesses to the marriage, and
he destroyed the lines that she might have no
claim upon him. Her father and mother were
very wealthy people, and of good family, but after
they died, her relatives quite disowned her. When
she came out of the asylum, she was told that her
child was dead, and not being able to remain in
the neighbourhood where she was known, she went
and lived in complete retirement in Cumberland.
From there she came to us. Mrs. Amiel Grey
knew the Brandon family, and offered to take the
child on condition that its parents never claimed
it. So Alice was sent to the Old Lodge, and the
people of St. Olave's have always imagined that
she was a niece of Mrs. Grey's."
284 st. olave's.
" And Mrs. Edenall never knew that Alice was
her own daughter !"
" Never. She always imagined that her child
was dead. I did not know that she was a mother
until the afternoon of Douglas Ramsay's funeral,
when she told me something of her history. I
don't think she mourned much for the loss of it ;
she knew the stain of its birth could never be
" Tell me more about Alice \"
David's voice sounded very differently now, from
when he had spoken that name the night before.
Janet went on mechanically with her story.
' ' Only a week or two before the time fixed for the
marriage, Alice was accidentally looking into an old
cabinet in the drawing-room, and found a letter
addressed to her by her aunt, to be read after Mrs.
Grey's death. She opened it, and found that it
contained her own history. Cuthbert Scrymgeour
was sitting by her at the time she read it. The
next day, Captain Clay proved his claim as heir-
at-law j and, as soon as the legal conference was
over, Cuthbert Scrymgeour sent back Alice's letters
and broke off the engagement. Of course, the
stain of Alice's parentage was made the excuse for
st. olave's. 285
this, and so Mr. Scrymgeour has kept his credit
as a man of honour."
' c And you, Jeanie ,what did you do ?"
' ' Mrs. Cromarty told me of it next day, and I
went to her. I found the house all in confusion.
Alice was sitting in her own room ; she seemed to
be in a stupor of grief, and there was no one to
comfort her. So I brought her here, and kept her
with me until Mrs. Cromarty had got the cottage
at Norlands ready for her. Poor child, it was a
sair grief to her at first, but I think the bitterness
of it is passed now."
"Did she love him with her whole heart,
" I don't think it. He pleased her fancy, and
just petted her from morning to night, but he was
no stay for her to rest upon. It is licht love,
Davie, that cannot hold true in the cauld blast.
But I'm vexed for her now, the darling ; her life
is so different to what it used to be. She labours
all day at that music-copying, and in the gloam-
ing, when it is too dark to write, she does crochet
and fancy-work for the shops. Mrs. Cromarty
gets a little washing or plain sewing, sometimes ;
and that, with Alice's pittance from Captain Clay,
is all they have to depend upon."
286 st. olave's.
David turned his face away.
" Alice ! little Alice \"
And in the deep, low-spoken tenderness of
those words, Janet knew how surely ere long that
poor friendless girl would find a quiet resting-
place in her brother's heart. And Janet mur-
mured not. She knew that, for him even as for
herself, to love once was to love for ever.
T would seem that no life is complete
without the refining and purifying in-
fluence of sorrow. Not through hope
or joy, or even through busy working, but through
suffering only, are we, like our Captain, to be
made perfect. And so into Alice's life, dimming
for awhile all its sunshine and freshness, this
needful night of grief had come, to nourish with
wholesome shadow the thoughts which over-much
brightness might have withered and scorched.
She worked on very patiently at her new duties.
By-and-by her life of labour seemed more real
than the long, pleasant child-rest which had gone
before it. That came to be almost like a dream,
a peaceful, beautiful dream, only remembered now
She came home from the Cathedral that morn-
ing, weary and dispirited. The pittance which,
small though it was, had helped to keep the wolf
from the door, was gone now. After leaving Pro-
fessor Bright, she had gone to one and another of
the organists of the different churches in St.
Olave's, to ask if they could give her employment,
but all had declined her services. She must turn
to needlework again. Mrs. Cromarty had brought
some home that morning, which had been given
her as a great favour by one of the Close families.
It was a set of cravats, fine cambric cravats for
Canon Crumpet, who had just come into resi-
dence. They were lying on the table now ; Alice
had been stitching at one of them until her eye-
balls ached and her weary fingers almost refused
to guide the needle. If she could have laid the
work down, and had a real good cry, it would have
been such a relief. But she could not afford the
luxury of tears now ; they made her eyes smart
and her head ache, and then the stint of work
which she set herself had to be left undone.
At last, however, she had been forced to rest,
and now in the half twilight of that winter after-
noon, she stood at the window, looking ont over
the grey moorland. The sky was all one
even leaden tint, save just a little bit over St.
Olave's Cathedral, where the mist had broken away
and a glimpse of clear blue sky looked through,
hinting of sunshine somewhere. So often in our
life track we stand closed round by gloom and
mist, yet never so utterly dark but one little rift
remains to which we may look and catch a ray of
the sunshine of God's love. But Alice's eyes
were blinded ; she could not see it now.
She was changed, sadly changed. Poor child !
she had neither art nor pride to hide the wound
which Cuthbert Scrymgeour's faithlessness had
given her. She was not, she never would be, one
of those grand heroic creatures who, sore wounded
by a sudden sword-stroke in the battle, fight on
bravely after it, bravely as ever ; never showing,
by tear or sigh, how sharp the anguish is ; even
fighting all the more desperately, and winning
nobler victories, in the strength of suffering.
Neither was she of that lofty sort who, having
seen their soul palace swept utterly away, set
themselves with patient fortitude to travel
VOL. III. u
the rest of the way homeless, and beggared of all
that earth can give ; content so only Heaven bring
them rest. She was bnt a child, and as a child
David Bruce was back again, that was the
thought which filled her mind now. Filled it, not
with joy and comfort, not with the glad certainty
of coming rest, but with a weary, sickening sort
of disappointment. All that his return could do
would be to close Westwood to her. She dare not
go there now and meet his cold, unsympathizing
face, or listen to the story of his triumphs, —
triumphs which had made him forget her griefs.
That chance encounter in the organ-pew had struck
a great chill through her. She had so often pic-
tured their meeting, the joy it would be to sit by
him again, and look into those steady, trusty eyes.
But this was before her trouble came. Now they
had met — and how ? He had not even turned to
look at her, or told her by a single word that he
remembered the old friendliness. He was the
distinguished stranger now, she the penniless little
dependant, toiling hard for daily bread, and scarce
able to win that. Ah ! was this not wanting any
st. olave's. 291
Those cravats must be clone. Mrs. Canon
Crumpet had sent special orders that they were
to be sent home, starched and got up, by
the end of the week, and this was Thursday.
But, no -j she must rest just a little longer. Her
head ached very much ; her eyes were hot and
tired. She leaned her arms on the broad window-
seat and pressed her forehead against the glass
It was very sad to see her face j there was no
anger, no bitterness in it, only a mute, question-
ing look, like some gentle pet creature that has
been grievously wounded, and lifts up its won-
dering eyes, asking for pity. She would never
be the same Alice again that she was before
that heavy blow had come. The gay, glad-hearted,
joyous look was gone; she had quite lost the airy,
swaying grace that used to mark every step and
gesture. She was no gleam of sunshine now, no
strain of merry music ; rather she seemed like a
bruised flower, ready with one more blast to fall
to the ground and be swept away. Still, when
the gleam of sunshine is faded, and the strain of
music gone, we soon forget them j it is the poor
broken flower that we tend so lovingly ; there is
hope of it that it may revive and bloom once
She turned her head. David Bruce stood in
the doorway. He had been watching her, unseen,
for the last half hour. As she caught sight of
him, her face brightened, and she made as if she
would have sprung to meet him in the old trustful
way. But, before that impulse had time to grow
into action, she remembered the change that had
come over them both, and drew back again —
humbly, meekly, not even lifting her eyes as she
placed a chair for him by the fire.
David Bruce would have taken her to his heart
there and then, and ended all her toil ; but some-
thing in the staid quietness of her manner kept
him back. She took up her work, and stood at a
little distance from him.
" It is very kind of you to come and see me,"
she said. "You see my life has changed very
There was a sort of dignity in her way, even
the least touch of pride. David Bruce had not
offered her his sympathy, she would not ask it
st. olave's. 293
" Alice, until this morning, I thought that you
were the wife of Cuthbert Scrymgeour."
She just lifted her face to his for one moment, then
bent it, crimson with stifled emotion, over her work.
u No, I am no wife for Mr. Scrymgeour now/'
There was such broken-down hopelessness in
the way she said this. She kept up bravely for
a moment or two ; then the work fell from her
fingers, and she buried her face in her hands,
David Bruce looked at her as she stood there
before him, leaning against the low mantel-piece,
half turning away that he might not see her
tears ; the young head that once used to wear its
coronal of golden curls with such careless grace,
bowed down in shame and weariness.
She raised herself, and looked steadily through
her tears into his face. Her eyes fell before all
that they read in his. David Bruce' s apologies,
explanations, all failed him; the old tenderness,
held back so long by mistake and misunderstand-
ing, overflowed his heart again. He held out his
arms to her as she stood there, the poor little
forsaken, friendless thing.
" Alice, you are very tired. Come to me and
And Alice went.
If David Bruce loved her when wealth and
plenty shrined her round, when the pride of rank
and the iron barriers of social caste parted
them, she was ten times dearer to him now when
she crept, shorn of all these things, into his arms,
bringing to him nothing but the whiteness of her
womanhood, and even that soiled by the mother
from whom she had received it.
An hour later they sat there yet, her head
bowed upon her hand, the tears still falling one by
one over the fingers that clasped his so closely.
But the little rift of blue sky had widened out ;
and a single beam of sunlight pouring through it,
rested on them both, for an earnest of the spring
time that should come ere long.
HAT was January, and in April they
were to be married. David was im-
patient to get the little blossom, once so
rudely nipped, back again into the keeping of his
own loving heart.
It was a different courtship, very, from the one
that was even yet fresh in Alice's memory. No
dainty compliments came sprinkling down upon
her like sugared bon-bons, no pretty speeches or
honeyed words of flattery, such as she had lived
upon during that short spell of sunshine. But as
time after time David Bruce came to the little
cottage at Norlands, and she nestled into the shel-
ter of his strong protecting tenderness, she felt
that one look from those steady, honest eyes, one
word from that voice whose every tone was full of
brave out-spoken truth, more than overbalanced
all the caresses which Cuthbert, in his elegant
chivalry, had offered. That was the froth and
sparkle, this the clear wine of life.
It was the night before the wedding. David
had come on his last visit to Norlands, and the two
sat together in the bow-window, that looked out
into the pleasant old-fashioned garden, greening
now in the freshness of early spring-time. Before
he came, Alice had been opening and re-arranging
the carved oak cabinet that used to belong to Mis-
tress Amiel Grey. Captain Clay had allowed her to
select one or two things from the Old Lodge furni-
ture, and this had been brought to Norlands
amongst them. She used it now to keep some of
her own little treasures, relics of the old time;
also it contained her mother's papers and the
pocket-book which Mrs. Edenall had treasured
through the lonely years of her worse than widow-
hood. Alice had turned away from them to take
her place by David's side, but the door of the
cabinet was open still; and whilst his arm kept her
near him he was playfully taking up one after ano-
ther of her little possessions, and making her tell
him its story.
His face paled somewhat at the sight of the
familiar tartan on the cover of the old purse. He
took it up.
" May I open this, Alice V
" Yes," she said, without lifting her face, which
rested on his arm, " I don't think there is any-
thing in it but a few old papers. The inside has
been nearly all torn out."
He opened it. There were three or four wheat
ears in one of the compartments, brown and wi-
thered now as if they had been kept for a long time.
David knew them again. He remembered how, as
he took them out of Alice's hair that long-ago
night in the Norlands cornfields, she had asked
for them, and he had given them into her hand.
And as they came along home she had played
with them, twisting the stalks into fanciful shapes.
The marks were there still.
"So the little girl remembered me then," he
said, fastening the brown wheat ears once more
into her hair. But though he said it lightly,
there was a mist of tears in his eyes, and his lips
trembled as he spoke the words. Those brown
298 st. olave's.
withered things told him what he longed so much
to know, that the child had held him in her
thoughts through all that long waiting time, and
that the bond which bound them now was neither
new nor strange.
Alice turned, and her face flushed all over.
" Oh, Mr. Bruce ! I did not know," and she
stretched out her hand to snatch them from him.
In doing so, the purse fell to the ground. David
picked it up. The fall had loosened a spring in-
side, and a little pocket opened in which was a
scrap of paper all mildewed and discoloured. These
words were scrawled untidily upon it, —
" Douglas Bamsay and Marian Brandon, mar-
ried at Errol, June 14, 18—."
There was a long silence in the quiet little room.
Alice felt herself drawn closer and closer — she
knew not why — to David Brace's heart, and she
felt his warm kisses falling fast upon her cheek
So then the wh'te little hand that lay in his,
marred though it might be by trace of toil, was
free from stain, and the blood that flowed through
its blue veins was pure, untainted as his own. He
should never need to blush now that his wife was
st. olave's. 299
not nobly born ; lie should never fear to place her
side by side with the proudest in the land. He
could not love her with a truer, tenderer love ; but
it was grand to know that the world's scorn could
not reach her now.
It was a veiy quiet wedding. In the early sun-
light of that April morning, while yet the dew lay
upon the grass, and sparkled in the blue violet
cups, Janet Bruce rode down to the cottage, and
fetched Alice and Mrs. Cromarty to Westwood
church. David was waiting for them there, just
as quiet and grave as ever. There was no bridal
pomp this time ; no sheen of satin nor flutter of
orange blossoms; no peal of marriage bells, nor
scattering of flowers along the path to the church.
Canon Hewlet married them. The choral service
was wanting, that pealed forth from the organ as
Cuthbert Scrymgeour led his stately bride down
the broad aisle of St. Olave's Cathedral ; but, as
the good old clergyman pronounced his benedic-
tion over David and Alice Bruce, a thrush, that
had been swinging itself on the topmost branch
of the elm tree by the east window, suddenly
broke into a loud jubilant strain, grand as any
wedding march need be.
300 st. olave's.
David took his wife home to Westwood. They
made no bridal tour just then; that was deferred
until summer, when they were to go for a long,
long visit to the Highlands. Besides, after the
hard striving of the past few months, home, with
its peace and quietness, was all that either of them
Janet Brace's bridal gift to her new sister was a
little gold bracelet, fastened with a clasp of Bruce
tartan. Inside this clasp was a lock of Douglas
Ramsay's golden hair, braided with one of Mrs.
EdenalTs grey brown tresses; and round them
both, graven in tiny letters, this line, — Alice
knew its meaning now, —
" They shall not want any good thing "
Janet fastened it on Alice's w r rist the evening of
their wedding day, and then slipped quietly out of
the room, leaving husband and wife alone. Per-
haps there might be a touch of bitterness in her
heart as she closed the door upon their new-found
joy, but if so it never reached her face. That kept
all its old stillness.
Great was the indignation of the Close families
when they learned, just on the eve of the mar-
riage, that David Bruce, their distinguished fellow-
citizen, was about to link his name and fame, and
genius and position, with a penniless girl who had
neither rank nor connections to recommend her; a
girl, moreover, whose birth rendered her inadmis-
sible into select society, and who until the last
month had been earning her living by taking in
plain needlework. Greater still, however, was
their bewilderment when the marriage was thus
announced in the " St. Olave's Chronicle" —
(e On Wednesday, at the parish church of West-
wood, by the Eev. Canon Hewlet, David Bruce,
formerly of the Court House, Perth, to Alice, only
child of the late Douglas Eamsay of Glen Ramsay,
Perthshire, and Marian Brandon his wife."
So Alice Grey was no base-born parvenu after
all. What a mistake the goodly fellowship of the
little Cathedral city had made. However there
was no help for it. The Position Committee had
to retract its verdict and subside into humiliating
silence. Gladly, when the fancied stain had been
wiped from her escutcheon, would the Close fami-
lies have welcomed Mrs. David Bruce into
their midst, or deluged her with cards and
congratulations ; but the Westwood home needed
no aristocratic patronage now to heighten its happi-
ness or establish its respectability.
302 st. olave's.
The Ramsay estate was confined by entail to
male heirs, so that the discovery of the legal
marriage between its owner and Marian Brandon
brought Alice no pecuniary benefit. Her father's
broad acres had passed to a distant member of the
family, and Mrs. EdenalFs interest in the Bran-
don Manor ceased with her death, so that the
home at Westwood did not, after all, overflow with
wealth. Soon after his marriage, David Bruce
rented Norlands from Captain Clay, and had the
cottage furnished as a summer residence. Mrs.
Cromarty contined to reside there as housekeeper,
and little Miss Luckie lived to celebrate her
ninetieth birthday beneath the shadows of its
ancestral elm trees.
Having brought David Bruce and Alice thus
far on the journey of life, and seen them fairly
started side by side on the matrimonial tramway,
it would of course be the most natural thing in the
world to leave them jogging comfortably along,
giving the reader to suppose that they lived happily
ever afterwards, as people in story-books always do
when once the ring is on and the benediction said.
Such, however, was not exactly the case. Some-
one says that trust and patience are the keepers of
st. olave's. 303
home happiness, and patience implies trial of one
kind or other. David and Alice, as they plodded
on through life, found that it contained for them a
fair share of the ills which flesh is heir to; not the
least of which was the occasional jarring- which is
at first inseparable from the blending and har-
monizing of two diverse natures, educated under
different conditions and of different mould. But
David and Alice never lost their faith in each other;
and always over -their human love, with its petty
discords and imperfections, there brooded that
other and diviner love, hallowing it, ennobling it,
purifying it from the dross of earthly feeling.
And so as years rolled on, there came down upon
the little Westwood home the unfading light of
heaven-given, heaven-sustained peace, even that
peace which is made strong through patience and
perfect through suffering.
IFE creeps on quietly as ever through
the musty old Cathedral city of St.
Olave's. Still the quaint timbered
houses uplift their tall gables, marred by the wind
and storm of centuries ; and the sunshine, oozing
lazily through the narrow streets, ripples over
richly carved doorways and picks out the moulder-
ing remains of by-gone grandeur which linger yet
in back alleys and dingy court-yards. Still those
stiff old saints and martyrs look down in grim
dignity from the Cathedral front, and its grey
towers loom swarthily as ever upon the clear blue
summer sky or the dim cloud-land of winter.
But Mrs. Archdeacon Scrymgeour has long
st. olave's. 305
since ceased to give an eye to them. Chapter
Court has passed into other hands. Without ask-
ing her opinion on the agreeableness or otherwise
of the proceeding, the great Reaper came and bound
her up, with all her ecclesiastical dignities, in his
sheaves. She sleeps in the south aisle of the
Cathedral, side by side with her departed spouse,
and a couple of fat little cherubs, with their fingers
in their eyes, point to the mural tablet on which
the archidiaconal virtues, male and female, are
Mrs. Scrymgeour's death, it is believed, was
hastened by severe family afflictions. Not long
after the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Cuthbert, old
Squire Egerton brought home a young bride,
blooming and beautiful, who in the course of three
or four years surrounded his table with as many
olive branches, all healthy and flourishing, and
likely enough to perpetuate the Egerton name
down to remote posterity. Of course the Grass-
thorpe expectations fell to the ground, and the
Archdeacon's widow never recovered the shock.
Alice's sudden accession of social caste was an
additional blow to her sensibilities; and within
VOL. III. x
306 st. olave's.
twelvemonths after the marriages of Squire Egerton
and David Bruce, she resigned her post as Lady
President of the Position Committee, and was
gathered to her ancestors.
Martin Speller lies under the sod too. He died
as he lived — most people do. First he lost his
sight, then he became decrepit, then childish ; but
still day by day he took his accustomed place
amongst the almsfolk at the Cathedral prayers,
and listened, with his old half-defiant, half-indif-
ferent air, to the chanted music. He died one
sunshiny August afternoon, just as the Close
families were rustling, gilt Prayer-books in hand,
to their places in the choir. When they knew his
change was near, they sent for Mrs. Cromarty.
She came and knelt by him, praying God to give
her some word for him that might guide his soul
through the dark valley.
" Bell's puttin' in for prayers," he muttered, as
the well-remembered sound came floating through
the still air. " Nowt but prayers — i' this here
place — Prayin' ain't no yield — ever I see'd "
Then the silver cord was loosed, and Martin
Speller's reckoning stands over to the great Here-
st. olave's. 307
The shadow of the Roman tower at Norlands,
lengthening as the day declines, falls on two graves,
not nameless now, bnt covered by a massive marble
slab, bearing this inscription : —
" To the Memory of Douglas Ramsay and his
spouse, Marian Brandon, who were accidentally
killed at this place."
They are not forgotten. Often in the still
summer evenings David Bruce and his wife go
there, speaking in low reverent tones of those
who lie beneath. And when they are gone, one
who perhaps remembers the dead more faithfully
than they in their fulness of happy love can do,
keeps her silent watch over the sleepers. And it
may be in that silent watch the strength comes
down which bears her through the long weari-
ness of life, and the hope which hallows all its
Poor Janet Bruce ! Peace, peace. It may be
grand to place the sword point to our breast, and,
weary of the battle's strife, rashly dare the death
that lingers over-long. It is grander far to take
that sword, and strong in the strength of the
lonely, fainting never for any toil or hardship that
it brings, to fight bravely, patiently on; until
leaving it buried hilt-deep in the heart of the
latest enemy, we wait for the Captain's voice T
to say — " Enough, come up higher."
13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
MESSRS. HURST AND BLACKETT'S
THE LIFE OF EDWARD IRVING, Minister of
the National Scotch Church, London. Illustrated by his Jour-
nal and Correspondence. By Mrs. Oliphant. Second Edition,
Revised. 2 vols. 8vo, with Portrait. 30s.
" We who read these memoirs must own to the nobility of Irving's character, the
grandeur of his aims, and the extent of his powers. His friend Carlyle bears this testi-
mony to his worth : — ' I call him, on the whole, the best man I have ever, after trial
enough, found in this world, or hope to find.' A character such as this is deserving of
study, and his life ought to be written. Mrs. Oliphant has undertaken the work, and
has produced a biography of considerable merit. The author fully understands her
hero, and sets forth the incidents of his career with the skill of a practised hand. The
book is a good book on a most interesting theme." — Times.
" Mrs. Oliphant's ' Life of Edward Irving ' supplies a long-felt desideratum. It is
copious, earnest, and eloquent, earring the reader along, with something of the same
excited admiration and pathetic sensibility with which it is written. On every page
there is the impress of a large and masterly comprehension, and of a bold, fluent, and
poetic skill of portraiture. Irving as a man and as a pastor is not only fully sketched,
but exhibited with many bread, powerful, and life-like touches, which leave a strong
impression." — Edinburgh Reciew.
" We thank Mrs. Oliphant for her beautiful and pathetic narrative. Hers is a book
which few of any creed can read without some profit, and still fewer will close without
regret. It is saying much, in this case, to say that the biographer is worthy of the
man. * * * The journal which Irving kept is one of the most remarkable records that
was ever given to the public, and must be read by any who would form a just appre-
ciation of his noble and simple character." — Blackwood's Magazine.
"A truly interesting and most affecting memoir. Irving's life ought to have a
niche in every gallery of religious biography There are few lives that will be fuller
of instruction, interest, and consolatiou." — Saturday ReUew.
" A full detailed biography of Irving we have not seen till now. In Mrs. Oliphant's
volumes we trace the history, and mark the aspect, the joy, and grief, and conflict of
his life, as we have never before been able to do. Mrs. Oliphant's work is admirable,
presenting a most living, consistent, vivid picture of Irving." — Macmillan's Mag.
" We can allot Mrs. Oliphant no higher eulogy than that her work is worthy of him
whom it commemorates. She has contributed to our literature a work that will rank
among the best of biographies, one that may be placed by the side of Hanna's ' Life
of Chalmers,' and Stanley's 'Life of Arnold.'" — Parthenon.
" A highly instructive and profoundly interesting life of Edward Irving." — Scotsman.
ITALY UNDER VICTOR EMMANUEL. A
Personal Narrative. By Count Charles Arrivabene. 2 vols.
8vo, with charts, 30s.
"A bright and cheery book. A piece of history like the aspect and fortunes of the
land it describes so well, to freshen the. memory and make glad the heart. Count
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his style. And then what a story he has to tell! — one that will interest the passions
of men and the sympathies of women to the end of time." — Athenaum.
" Count Arrivabene was singularly well qualified for the task he has here per-
formed. His thorough mastery of our language enabled him to interpret his Italian
experiences to an English audience with a perspicuity which is rare even among our
own countrymen. His rank gave him access to the superior authorities everywhere,
and thus his information carries with it the stamp of authenticity, whilst his own natural
powers of observation and comment are considerable. He has produced a most im-
portant and stirring book. To say that it is interesting would be to express inade-
quately the absorbing power it exercises over the attention, and the excitement with
which it fills the mind." — Daily News.
" ' Italy under Victor Emmanuel ' merits, and will doubtless receive, considerable
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and breathles-ily interesting."— Corn/til/ Magazine.
" Whoever wishes to gnin an insight into the Italy of the present moment, and 1o
know what she is, what she has done, and what she lias to do, should consult Count
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dramatic."— DicUns's All the Year Round.
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MESSRS. HURST AND BLACKETT'S
NEW WORKS— Continued.
LES MISERABLES. By VICTOR HUGO. THE
AUTHORIZED COPYRIGHT ENGLISH TRANSLATION.
Second Edition. Complete in 3 vols, post 8vo. Price 3ls. 6d.
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THE PRIVATE DIARY OF RICHARD, DUKE
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THE CHURCH AND THE CHURCHES; or,
THE PAPACY AND THE TEMPORAL POWER. By Dr.
Dollinger. Translated, with the Author's permission, by
William Bernard Mac Cabe. 1 vol. 8vo, 15s.
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13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
MESSRS. HURST AND BLACKETT'S
NEW WORKS— Continued.
ENGLISH WOMEN OF LETTERS. By Julia
Kavanagh, Author of " Nathalie," " Adele," " French Women of
Letters," &c. 2 vols., 21s.
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tion), and an account and analysis of her principal novels. To this task Miss Kavanagh
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THE LIFE OF J. M. W. TURNER, R.A., from
Original Letters and Papers furnished by his Friends, and
Fellow Academicians. By Walter Thornbury. 2 vols. 8vo.
with Portraits and other Illustrations, 30s.
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Narrative of a Yacht Voyage Round Vancouver's Island. By
Captain C. E. Barrett Lennard. 1 vol. 8vo.
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emigrant may thrive whether as miner, manufacturer, or agriculturist. He was
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New Westminster, the capital . he cruised round Vancouver's Island in a yacht,
and he became acquainted with many of the Indian tribes, few of which have
been lamiliarly known to Europe. We leave this lively and interesting volume to
the reader." — Athenceum.
" A most valuable accession to our Colonial literature. Captain Lennard gives a
vast amount of information respecting the two colonies, of that kind which an in-
tending emigrant would be most glad to receive."— Daily News.
FEMALE LIFE IN PRISON. By a Prison Ma-
tron. Third Edition, with Additions. 2 vols., 21s.
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tive department of literature, though ordinarily they are more welcome than deserving
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describes are most curious, and we consider her book to be as authentic as it is new m
the form and details of its information."— 'J he Times.
"This book should have many readers among our social reformers of both oexes,
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"This is one of the most genuine books- probably the best woman's book of the
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winch are vivid and interesting as the liveliest inventions of the novelist."—
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MESSRS. HURST AND BLACKETT'S
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GREECE AND THE GREEKS. Beiog the
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and its Islands. By Fredrika Bremer. Translated by Mary
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LEAVES. By the Rev. John Cumming, D.D., F.R.S.E,
printed on toned Paper. 2 vols., 21s.
MEMOIRS OF CHRISTINA, QUEEN OF
SWEDEN. By Henry Woodhead. 2 vols, with Portrait, 21s.
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TIONS. By Henry F. Chorley. 2 vols., with Portraits, 21s.
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MIRAL SIR CHARLES NAPIER, K.C.B. From his Private
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TRAVELS IN THE HOLY LAND. By Fred-
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AMOOR, and the Russian Acquisitions on the Confines of
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LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL CONTENTS.
Historical View of the Peerage.
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attractive. Its matter is good." — Athenaeum.
VOL. V.— A WOMAN'S THOUGHTS ABOUT WOMEN.
BY THE AUTHOR OF " JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN."
" A book of sound counsel. It is one of the most sensible works of its kind, well
written, true-hearted, and altogethei practical." — Examiner.
VOL. VI.-ADAM GRAEME OF MOSSGRAY.
BY THE AUTHOR OF " MARGARET MAITLAND."
" 'Adam Graeme' is a story awakening genuine emotions of interest and delight by
its admirable pictures of Scottish life and scenery."— Post.
VOL. VII.-SAM SLICK'S WISE SAWS
AND MODERN INSTANCES.
"The best of all Judge Haliburton's admirable works. It is one of the pleasantest
books we ever read, and we earnestly recommend it." — Standard.
VOL VIII.— CARDINAL WISEMAN'S POPES.
"A picturesque book on Rome and its ecclesiastical sovereigns." — Athenosum,
VOL. IX— A LIFE FOR A LIFE.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN."
" In ' A Life for aLife ' the author is fortunate in a good subject, and she has produced
a work of strong effect." — Athenceum.
VOL. X.— THE OLD COURT SUBURB. BY LEIGH HUNT.
"A delightful book; that will be welcome to all readers, and most welcome to
those who have a love for the best kinds of reading." — Examiner.
VOL. XI.— MARGARET AND HER BRIDESMAIDS.
" We recommend all who are in search of a fascinating story to read this work for
themselves. They will find it well worth their while."— Athenceum,
parst anh glacltttfs Stanbarb f flrrarg
VOL. Xn.— THE OLD JUDGE. BY SAM SLICK.
" This work is redolent, of the hearty fun and strong sense of our old friend
'Sam Slick.' Every p;ige is alive with fresh sketches of character, droll, quaint, racy
sayings, good-humoured practical jokes, and capitally told anecdotes." — Chronicle.
VOL. XIII.— DARIEN. BY ELIOT WARBURTON.
"This last production, from the pen of the author of 'The Crescent and the Cross,'
has the same elements of a verv wide popularity. It will please its thousands." — Globe.
VOL. XIV.— FAMILY ROMANCE ; OR, DOMESTIC
ANNALS OF THE ARISTOCRACY.
BY SIR BERNARD BURKE.
"It were impossible to praise too highly as a work of amusement this most interest-
ing hook, It ought to be found on every drawing-room table." — Standard.
VOL. XV.— THE LAIRD OF NORLAW.
BY THE AUTHOR OF " MRS. MARGARET MAITLAND."
" Scottish life and character are here delineated with true artistic skill." — Herald.
\ VOL. XVI.— THE ENGLISHWOMAN IN ITALY.
"Mrs. Gretton's work is interesting, and full of instruction." — The Times.
VOL. XVIL— NOTHING NEW.
BY THE AUTHOR OP " JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN."
" "We cordially commend this book. The same graphic power, deep patbos, health-
ful sentiment, and masterly execution, which place that beautiful work 'John
Halifax,' among the English classics, are everywhere displayed." — Chronicle.
VOL. XVIIL— THE LIFE OF JEANNE D'ALBRET,
"Nothing can be more interesting than Miss Freer's story of the life of Jeanne
d'Albret, and the narrative is as trustworthy as it is attractive." — Post.
VOL. XIX.— THE VALLEY OF A HUNDRED FIRES.
BY THE AUTHOR OF " MARGARET AND HER BRIDESMAIDS."
" If asked to classify this work, we should give it a place between 'John Halifax,'
and ' The Caxtons.' " — Herald.
VOL. XX.- THE ROMANCE OF THE FORUM.
BY PETER BURKE, SERJEANT AT LAW.
"A work of singular interest, which can never fail to charm. The present cheap
and elegant edition includes the true story of the Colleen Bawn." — Illustrated News.
VOL. XXL— ADELE. BY JULIA KAVANAGH.
" Adele is the best work we have had by Miss Kavanagh; it is a charming story.
The interest kindled in the first chapter burns brightly to the close."— Athenceum.
VOL. XXII. STUDIES FROM LIFE.
BY THE AUTHOR OF " JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN."
"These ' Studies from Life ' are remarkable for graphic power and observation. The
book will not diminish the reputation of the accomplished author." — Saturday Rent"-.
VOL. XXIII. —GRANDMOTHER'S MONEY.
" A good novel. The most interesting of the author's productions."— Athenaum.
VOL. XXIV— A BOOK ABOUT DOCTORS.
BY J. C. JEAFFRESON, ESQ.
" A delightful book."— Athenaeum. ' A book to be read and re-read ; fit for the study
as well as tht drawing-room table and the circulating library."— Lancet.
VOL. XXV.— NO CHURCH.
"We advise all who have the opportunity to read this book. It is well worth tie
THE NEW AND POPULAR NOVELS,
PUBLISHED BY HURST & BLACKETT.
MISTRESS AND MAID. By the Author of
"John Halifax, Gentleman." 2 vols.
" All lovers of a good novel will hail with delight another of Miss Mulock's charming
fictions. In 'Mistress and Maid,' the characters, like all Miss Mulock's, are ably
sketched and wel I supported. The gentle elder sister, so resigned for herself, so careful
for the sister child she has nurtured with all a mother's loving care ; the fretful beauty
whose ill-temper is the cankerworm of the little household ; the energetic, strong-
hearted, loving, and loveable Hilary, the breadwinner of the family; and the good angel
of the house, the serving maid of the sisters, Elizabeth Hand, are so naturally and
vividly portrayed, that they seem like old acquaintances. — John Bull.
" Never has the truth of that noble aphorism, ' one touch of nature makes the whole
world kin,' been more forcibly verified than in this very charming story." — Messenger.
A PRODIGAL SON. By Dutton Cook, Author
of "Paul Foster's Daughter." 3 vols.
" ' A Prodigal Son ' will find many admirers among readers of works of fiction.
There are new characters in the book, and the plot is good."— Post.
DAVID ELGINBROD. By George MacDonald,
M.A. Auihorof "Within and Without," " Phantastes,"&c. 3 vols.
A POINT OF HONOUR. By the Author of " The
Morals of May Fair," &c. 2 vols.
SLAVES OF THE RING; or, Before and After.
By the Author of " Grandmother's Money," &c. 3 vols.
" A very good story. The reader cannot but feel interested in the loves, the joys, and
sorrows of ' The Slaves of the Ring.' It is no small praise to say that the present tale
possesses in almost every respect the good qualities of the author's previous works." —
Observer. " These volumes well sustain the author's reputation." — John Bull.
THE MAROON. By Captain Mayne Reid, Author
of " The Rifle Rangers," &c. 3 vols.
" Capt. Reid has the advantage of being able to add what may be called personal
experience to a more than ordinary happy power of description, ' The Maroon ' will
rank among Capt. Mayne Reid's most popular books." — Athenaeum,
THE LADIES OF LOVEL- LEIGH. By the
Author of " Margaret and her Bridesmaids," &c. 3 vols.
" The author of this interesting tale lias not now for the first time proved to tlie
world her extraordinary power in delineating the affections. The lesson is one of
impressive force." —Daily News, " A vtry pleasant novel."— Press.
MARION LESLIE. By the Rev. P. Beaton. 3 vols.
" This story is a very good one, and is told with great power. The descriptions of
Scottish life are drawn with a very graphic pen." — John Bull.
JOHN ARNOLD. By the Author of "Mathew
Paxton." 3 vols.
OWEN: A WAIF. By the Author of "High
Church " and " No Church." 3 vols.
'•There is a generous heart speaking with power through the tale of ' Owen,' and the
characters are sketched with genuine humour." — Examiner.
CAN WRONG BE RIGHT? By Mrs. S. C. Hall.
'•This excellent and interesting story is the best Mrs. Hall has written." — Athenaeum.
THE LAST OF THE MORTIMERS. By the
Author of " Margaret Maitland," &c. 3 vols.
'•A charming book— simple, quaint, and fresh. — Athenozum.